US broadline retailer Sears has announced its collaboration with UK fashion brand French Connection as "a major step forward", with a major advertising push now planned.

It follows news today (15 September) that Sears will sell clothing under the UK Style by French Connection brand name, after the UK firm struck a license deal with Li & Fung USA.

Sears said the line will offer "contemporary, stylish clothing and accessories collections for men, women, and children".

The deal includes branded boutiques in 500 Sears locations throughout the US and online, starting in the first quarter of 2011. A campaign including print, broadcast, and in-store signage will be developed by advertising agency Lloyd & Co, known for its work with Tom Ford and Gucci, a statement added.

Following the initial launch, Sears will introduce swimwear, footwear, sunglasses, jewellery, and other accessories along with items for the home.

"French Connection is a world leader in contemporary fashion," said John Goodman, executive vice president of Apparel and Home for Sears Holdings.

"This addition to our brand portfolio will significantly increase our relevance among younger customers while strengthening our effort to re-energise our fashion offerings at Sears.

"We are thrilled with this major opportunity to work with a company whose vibrant, cutting-edge fashion and avant-garde marketing have made waves in the fashion industry for almost forty years."

Sears' UK Style by French Connection women's collection offers floral leggings and striped tanks from US$9.90, while the men's collection includes dark-washed jeans costing $24.90.

"French Connection is the pioneer of fast fashion and is an international leader in the contemporary category with original, groundbreaking consumer marketing year after year," said Rick Darling, president of LF USA.

"This is a powerful alliance between Sears, one of America's top retailers, London based French Connection, with its fashion heritage, and LF USA with its design capabilities and global sourcing network. This alliance is sure to produce great fashion at great value for our customers."

Therefore, it seems French Connection is eager to get its foot in the door across the Atlantic - picking Li & Fung and Sears as its most effective allies.