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Chinese sportswear brand 361° takes on UK market

Chinese sports footwear and apparel brand 361° is eyeing up the UK market following successful launches in the US and Brazil.

Founded in Jianjing in 2003 and owned by Yue Lei International, 361° has more than 7,800 stores in China and generates annual revenues of over £1bn euros (£778m).

The brand’s portfolio includes running, training and leisure shoes and sports and performance wear (indoors and outdoors). Wholesale prices range from £20 to £40 for footwear and £6 to £20 for clothing.

It launched in the US and in Brazil in summer 2014 and is now extending its expansion strategy to the pan-European market, with the UK a “key focus”.

The business has secured the services of German fashion agency Zitra’s British brand director Derek Binns, who will head up its European business. Zitra is part of mail order company Otto Group, which owns logistics company Hermes.

Binns started his career at Goretex and has 30 years’ experience working with active and fashion sportswear brands. He told Drapers: “The UK is the key target market in Europe for 361°, closely followed by DACH (the majority German-speaking countries including Germany and Austria). 361° sees the UK as the fastest growing economy in the G7.”

Chief executive of 361° Otto Lin added: “We are quite sure that our mission, our expertise and our innovative technologies will help us make a huge impact on the European market.”

361° will launch an initial 140-piece spring 15 collection, comprising shoes and clothing for men and women, at the ISPO sports fair in Munich from February 5-8. It will be available for delivery to the UK within five days, while a 220-piece autumn 15 collection will be available to pre-order.

Binns said it would target specialist independents such as Runners World, Up & Running and Runners Need, as well as the more up-market department stores, such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and sell online via Zitra.com.

The brand is also an official partner in support of the 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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