Sojitz Corporation


Sojitz General Merchandise Corporation Acquires Exclusive Distribution and Master License Rights for PENDLETON® Brand Products

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Jun. 23, 2016
Sojitz Corporation
Sojitz General Merchandise Corporation
Sojitz Corporation of Americas

Sojitz General Merchandise Corporation (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Naoto Hatori; “‘Sojitz GMC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sojitz Corporation specializing in footwear and brand consumer products, and USA’s Pendleton Woolen Mills Inc. (Head Office: Portland, Oregon; President: Mort Bishop III; “Pendleton”) have announced an agreement granting Sojitz GMC exclusive distribution and master license rights for the PENDLETON® brand in the Japanese market.

Starting from the Fall/Winter 2017 collection, Sojitz GMC will launch its business combining license and import products for total branding.


Pendleton products have been imported to Japan since 1980 and have been sold in specialized shops, through catalogs, and over the internet. Pendleton’s interest is to reinforce the brand in Japan. Working with the brand development experts at Sojitz GMC, the two companies have agreed on a direction for the Pendleton brand in the Japanese market.

Sojitz GMC will utilize their brand business experience and knowhow in their capacity as exclusive distributor and master licensee for the Japanese market. Meanwhile, Sojitz Corporation of America’s Portland, Oregon branch will provide logistic services for the US side of operations.

A&F Corporation will continue to handle sales of Pendleton imports in the Japanese market, (Head Office: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Daisuke Akatsu), having long been the exclusive distributor of Pendleton products in Japan. Newly appointed for the business are Minoya Corporation (Head Office: Gifu-shi, Gifu; CEO: Morihiko Kinomura), who will be responsible for development and sales of licensed apparel, and Stanley International Inc., (Head Office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Ryuta Matsumoto) who will be responsible for manufacturing and sales of bags and accessories.

Through this comprehensive branding utilizing the combination of import and licensed products, all parties aim to increase Pendleton brand value in the Japanese market, with target sales reaching approximately 6 billion JPY in 10 years. In the future, all parties will aim to expand their import and licensed products into other Asian countries, after establishing a firm position within the Japanese market.

History of PENDLETON®
Pendleton’s founder, British weaver Thomas Kay, arrived in Oregon in 1863 to open a pioneer woolen mill and began by manufacturing blankets adorned with Native American patterns. In 1909, his family established Pendleton Woolen Mills Inc., which produced the legendary Pendleton 100% virgin wool Trade Blanket, and later the Wool Shirt in 1924.

In the 1930s, with the coming of the automobile, Pendleton developed the Motor Robe blanket in addition to classic, quality men’s and women’s apparel for the outdoor/country lifestyle.

During World War II, they also produced woolen blankets and uniform fabric for the US military.


In the 1960s, “The Beach Boys” topped the US charts, and it is said that the band loved Pendleton so much that they wore Pendleton wool shirts and originally called themselves “The Pendletons”.

The family-run business has now spanned six generations since Thomas Kay first began weaving in the Pacific Northwest, and they continue to produce a wide variety of products including blankets and other home products, bags, accessories, and wool menswear and womenswear—all globally favored for their iconic American style.

◆Typical Products


Sojitz General Merchandise Corporation – Company Overview

Head office 4th floor, Akasaka Oji Building, 1-22 Akasaka 8-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
President Naoto Hatori (CEO)
Established October 1967
Shareholder Sojitz Corporation - 100%
Capital JPY 450 million
Planning, development, import, and wholesale distribution of footwear, suitcases, sandals, apparel and other products;
planning, production management, and sales of uniform clothing and bedding products.


Pendleton Woolen Mills Incorporated – Company Overview

Head Office 220 NW Broadway, PO Box 3030 Portland, OR 97208-3030
President C.M. (Mort) Bishop III
Established 1909
Planning, development, production and sales of Menswear,
Womenswear, Blankets, Home products, and Accessories

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