US luxury apparel and accessory retailer Paul Stuart has been sold by the company's founding families to its Japanese licensee Mitsui & Co.

Mitsui began importing Paul Stuart brand products in 1975, and in 1991 agreed an exclusive licence to produce and sell Paul Stuart products in Japan, expanding its business in the market with sub-licensee Sanyo Shokai.

Sales of the brand in Japan reached JPY11.5bn (US$133m). There are two Paul Stuart flagship stores in Aoyama and Ginza in Tokyo, and approximately 100 shops in department stores and outlet shops nationwide, as well as e-commerce sites, all operated by Sanyo.

Mitsui plans to conserve the brand's heritage and expand its value through "taking advantage of its skills in brand marketing, retail operations and product procurements, which have been acquired in the course of its long history in the fashion business domain."

It also plans to grow the Japanese licence business to JPY20bn (US$231m) by 2015, as well as expand in emerging markets.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.