StreetTrend acquires high-end Italian sneaker brand P448 through joint venture
US footwear holding company StreetTrend LLC announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with Italian investment firm Panda SRL to acquire a majority interest in Forli, Italy-based luxury sneaker label P448.
In a release, the two companies explained that they have secured all of P448’s brand assets, creative design and manufacturing operations through a joint venture. The business’ founders Marco Simone and Andrea Curtis will maintain an equity stake in the brand where they will stay on as co-creative and design directors.
P448’s new management team under the joint venture will be led by Panda CEO Paolo Griffo who will take over as the brand’s chief executive officer, while Wayne Kulkin, StreetTrend’s chairman, will step in as non-executive chairman.
Griffo, who founded Panda in 2015 and has substantial experience with investments in the apparel and footwear sector, outlined plans to expand P448’s e-commerce business and to experiment with a small number of experiential stores in North America in 2019.
More immediate projects include the opening of a new showroom at Milan’s Palazzo Serbelloni in October of this year, intended to serve as a sister location to P448’s existing showroom in New York’s Garment District.
“The company will continue to grow by being innovative and executing on our vision of offering a unique Italian spin on shoes that reflect streetwear, including looks that capture the surf, skate and music culture,” said Griffo in the release, explaining his vision for the brand.
The acquisition is the latest development in a corporate relationship between StreetTrend and P448 which saw the US company obtain an exclusive distribution and marketing agreement with the Italian brand for a number of its principal markets, including North America, the UK, Hong Kong and China, among others, in 2017.
“When we launched StreetTrend last year it was very clear that we had to include P448 in our portfolio of luxury sneakers,” commented Wayne Kulkin. “The P448 brand has already gained a strong following in the US, and we’ve quickly developed a reputation among both retailers and shoppers for delivering exciting styles, with “handmade” quality and craftsmanship.”
Indeed, since its foundation in 2014, P448 has proved to be something of a global success story, rapidly gaining popularity with its stylish Italian sneakers, and reporting year-over-year sales growth of 50%.
Kulkin, who is a footwear industry veteran, having served as Stuart Weitzman CEO for over 25 years, founded StreetTrend with Hilco Global CEO Jeffrey Hecktman. Aside from P448, the company currently designs, distributes and sells a varied portfolio of footwear brands including PS821 Limited Edition Sneakers and Meline. The company’s products are sold through its e-commerce platforms, as well as through department stores including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, and other specialty retailers.
Financial details of StreetTrend and Panda’s acquisition of P448 were not disclosed.
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