Goldwin, which has been mainly offering its highly technical skiwear outside Japan, is going to offer an athletic apparel collection through retailers in the U.S., Europe and Asia during the coming autumn season. The Japanese brand had launched a lifestyle collection for the fashion retail circuit two years ago as well as an outdoor collection for this year's spring/summer season. All of its apparel items are manufactured in China and Vietnam, but its compression socks are made in Japan.

The Japanese company, which was among the exhibitors at the recent OutDoor by Ispo show, is also investing in retail. It is opening its first flagship store in the U.S. in November. Located in San Francisco, it will be directly operated by the company. Goldwin is also considering similar mono-brand stores in European cities such as Munich or London, for openings in the course of next year. Last November, Goldwin opened its first free-standing, company-owned flagship store in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo.

These initiatives are evidently aimed at expanding the global presence of the Goldwin brand, which represented last year only about 10 percent of the Goldwin group's global turnover of about $800 million. Almost 70 percent of its products under its own brand are sold outside Japan, but company officials indicate that they want to grow the brand further internationally in the future.

Its most important markets are Japan, the U.S., Europe and China. Goldwin has a subsidiary in Los Angeles, another in Zurich and a Chinese subsidiary in Beijing.

Goldwin also controls The North Face's trademark in Japan and South Korea. The group distributes or licenses other brands such as Helly Hansen, Canterbury, Danskin and Ellesse, Speedo, Fischer, Icebreaker and Macpac in its domestic market. Some TNF stores in Japan offer Goldwin apparel on the side. The group expanded its operations a few months ago by taking a stake in Woolrich International, with which it was collaborating in the Japanese market.

The group started its new fiscal year on a high note. For its first quarter ended on June 30, the Japanese apparel company's sales jumped by 22.0 percent to 18,074 million yen (€153.6m-$170.7m), driven by a strong performance by TNF and Helly Hansen, especially at directly managed stores. Canterbury also did well. However, revenues from Ellesse decreased due to ongoing restructuring.

The gross margin gained 0.9 percentage points to 52.7 percent, thanks to better sourcing efficiencies. Adjusted net earnings of ¥1,375 million (€11.7m-$13.0m) were more than double the income of ¥588 million of the prior-year period.

Goldwin's board of directors plans to propose a “poison pill” at its next annual meeting to defend itself against hostile takeovers. Evidently, its shareholders want to avoid a repeat of what has happened to Descente, which has practically fallen under the control of Itochu Corporation.