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Champion Inks Major South Korea Distribution Deal as Expansion Revs Up

Champion’s renewed popularity is paying off as the company lays out plans for expansion.

Hanesbrands has added LF Corporation as a distribution partner in South Korea to expand the number of Champion stores in the country as part of its aggressive growth plans for the brand.

Champion points of distribution in South Korea, including stores, in-store shops and e-commerce, are expected to nearly triple to more than 30 by the end of 2020, and will continue to expand over the next five years, Hanesbrands said.

“We are successfully expanding our Champion store footprint throughout Asia by partnering with leading retail operators and distributors,” Jon Ram, Hanesbrands’ group president for global activewear, said. “We are looking forward to the growth that we can generate through the growing power of the Champion brand combined with the retail, e-commerce and brand building expertise of LF.”

CEO Gerald Evans said last month that the company foresees Champion as a $3 billion brand.

“We will surpass our $2 billion goal next year, two years early, and we do believe that the next billion can emerge over the next few years,” Evans said. In addition to South Korea, Evans said the company is increasing distribution in major economies, like China, “all of which positions us for continued double-digit Champion growth in 2020 and beyond.”

In the third quarter ended Sept. 28, global Champion sales increased 26 percent, beating the company’s expectations for the third straight quarter. This consisted of 29 percent growth in domestic Champion business and 24 percent gains in international.

On top of geographic growth, Hanesbrands is expanding Champion’s product portfolio, including a broader assortment within performance, kids’ and women’s lines, as well as in casual footwear and accessories.

The company said LF plans to quickly expand Champion points of distribution selling the brand’s global line of apparel and accessories by the end of 2020. Stores and in-store shops will be located near and in the country’s major department stores and shopping malls. In addition, LF, which directly operates more than 1,400 brand stores in South Korea, as well as e-commerce platforms, will distribute Champion products to the company’s Around the Corner multibrand lifestyle apparel stores, and to other parts of its online and store network.

“Champion is a global leader in sports performance and athletic casualwear apparel and is particularly appealing to younger consumers in their teens and 20s,” LF Corporation managing director Yoo Hyosang said. “We believe Champion has the positioning to be an upscale brand in Korea, and we plan to utilize a dual distribution strategy of opening Champion stores and expanding points of distribution in other store channels and online platforms. We are eager to tap the growth potential of Champion in Korea.”

There are currently more than 200 Champion stores and in-store shops across Asia, including in Japan, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The company expects to more than double the number of stores and shops in those countries within two years.

There are more than 300 Champion stores and in-store shops globally. The company continues to open stores in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, and is pursuing a distributor retail model to open stores in Mexico, Central America and South America.

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