Mitsui & Co. Ltd. acquired Paul Stuart Inc., luxury apparel and accessory retailer, selling their products under the brand name, Paul Stuart.
Mitsui reached an agreement with the founding families to purchase all shares, and became 100% owner of the company on December 28, 2012.
Paul Stuart opened its first store in 1938, on Madison Avenue in the heart of New York, as a leading edge, sophisticated men's fashion apparel specialty store, bringing European fashion culture to the US market where hitherto American traditional was the mainstream.
Since then, the Paul Stuart brand has been loved by customers, such as Ivy League graduates, and top executives and celebrities from all over the world. Paul Stuart has established itself as one of the leading American luxury brands in the course of its 75 year history.
Mitsui started to take part in the import of Paul Stuart products to Japan in 1975. In 1991, Mitsui entered into an exclusive license contract with Paul Stuart to produce and to sell Paul Stuart products in the Japanese market. Mitsui has expanded the business in the market with Sanyo Shokai Ltd. ("Sanyo") as its main sub-licensee.
Currently, Mitsui offers a wide variety of products in collaboration with its 14 sub-licensees. For the year ending March 31, 2012, annual retail sales of the brand in Japan have reached approximately ¥11.5 billion (Approx. US$133 million). There are two Paul Stuart flagship stores in Aoyama and Ginza in Tokyo, and approximately 100 shops in department stores, and outlet shops nationwide, as well as e-commerce sites, all operated by Sanyo.
The Paul Stuart trademark has been registered in over 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Through the current acquisition, Mitsui will secure access to the brand's worldwide trademark. This will allow Mitsui to expand its business to a full-scale global brand business. Mitsui also wishes to contribute to the Japanese sub-licensees, by securing the sustainability of the license business in the market, which will result in stabilizing the business base of their license business.
Mitsui will render its utmost effort in conserving the brand's heritage, and moreover, to elevate the value of the brand, by taking advantage of its skills in brand marketing, retail operations and product procurements, which have been acquired in the course of its long history in the fashion business domain.
Mitsui is aiming to further expand the Japanese license business to ¥20.0 billion (Approx. US$231 million) in 2015. Mitsui considers emerging countries as strategic markets in the fashion business domain. While the fashion market becomes more mature and sophisticated, as the income level rises in these markets, Mitsui believes that the demand for the Paul Stuart brand will grow, and will contribute to expand brand recognition and business in these markets.