Textile trading group Marubeni Fashion Planning has signed a three-year renewable licensing deal to produce and sell Oxbow's sportswear and accessories.

The Japanese collections will be developed jointly by Oxbow and Marubeni based on Oxbow models that will be interpreted to suit the Japanese market. The Oxbow range of products will be manufactured by Marubeni's production subsidiaries.

Sportswear retail chain Xebio will sell the products, but Oxbow has said it also plans to open its own stores in Japan.

A full line of Oxbow products will be distributed for the spring/summer 2005, following the pre-launch of a limited Snow range for winter 2004.

Commenting on this agreement, Dominique de La Tournelle, the chairman of Oxbow's management board, said: "This agreement fits perfectly with our strategy of expanding our brand in international markets and represents a major addition to our development efforts in Europe. Marubeni's clout and track record in this market should help us to achieve a significant profile in the Japanese market rapidly."

Based in Bordeaux on France's Atlantic Coast, Oxbow reported net profit of €1.2 million and an operating profit of €3.2m in the first half of 2004.