Coke plans global clothing brands

The Coca-Cola Company is planning to stretch its soft drinks brand into the world of fashion with the global launch of two clothing lines under the label “Coca-Cola Apparel”.

Starting with the UK and Eire as a test, the company plans to roll out a range called Coca-Cola “Threads”, consisting of jeans and casual clothing for the fashion market, and a Coca-Cola “Ware” range, aimed at the specialist sports sector.

Coca-Cola Company US spokeswoman Susan McDermott says the company would like its clothing to be seen as a fashion brand.

She says: “Consumers have a relationship with the brand which goes beyond drinking which they want to express. Clothing will help connect with consumers in a broader way.”

McDermott says the Apparel lines will vary from market to market. It is discussing the initiative with licensees in the US but no appointment has yet been made.

The UK is seen as a good test bed for the initiative because it is the company’s biggest market in Europe.

Both lines will be distributed throughout the UK and Eire under licence by Redditch-based clothing manufacturer Action Apparel.

The company, which has designed and manufactured its own men’s and women’s jeans and casualwear brands for 15 years, will develop the distribution base and in-store marketing for the lines.

Alan Strang, Action Apparel managing director, says the Coca-Cola Apparel brand will be launched worldwide this year. Strang is looking to recruit a national sales manager to handle the launch.

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