Benetton plans sports chain

The Benetton group is launching an international chain of megastores to house the sports brands it has just acquired from the Benetton family holding company, Edizone Holding.

The brands are part of the SportsSystem group and include Nordica, Prince, Rollerblade, Kastle, Killer Loop and Asolo. Benetton will also develop sportswear ranges, including footwear and bags for the individual brands, which will sit alongside its traditional range of casual clothing.

Benetton’s industrial complex at Castrette in Italy will handle the manufacture and distribution of the sportswear line, increasing its annual production and distribution capacity from 80 million to 120 million garments.

The operation will make Benetton one of the biggest companies worldwide in the clothing and sports equipment sector, with a turnover of about 4,400bn lire (1.5bn). Like the existing Benetton stores, the new outlets will be franchised to independent retailers.

Nordica, Kastle and Killer Loop are leading ski equipment manufacturers, Prince makes tennis rackets, Asolo makes walking boots and Ektelon racket ball equipment.

The Benetton holding company, renowned for its controversial advertising, was criticised for a Nazi-themed ad campaign it ran for the SportsSystem division in 1995.

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