Maxwell Shoe Company Inc has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Global Retail Inc to begin the development of freestanding retail stores throughout Europe and Asia for Joan & David sportswear and accessory items, as well as the roll-out of Joan & David in-store shops in upscale department stores.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Global Retail Inc, which is based in Hong Kong, is a widely-recognised retail development and global manufacturing organisation led by chairman, Jeffrey Fang. Additional brands that are licensed overseas by Global Retail include Episode in Europe, EQ:IQ in Asia and Canada. Global Retail has over 300 retail stores worldwide.

Under the agreement, Global Retail will design, source, manufacture and market a full array of Joan & David sportswear including knitwear, wovens, outerwear and dresses, all incorporating high-end European design elements.

The company's Joan & David footwear will be prominently featured throughout the stores complementing the new offerings. Plans call for an eventual roll-out of 65 stores in total starting with the autumn 2002 season, of which 15 will be in Europe and will include the United Kingdom, France and Spain and with in-store shops in department stores. In Asia, 50 stores are scheduled to open in markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and China.

Maxwell Shoe Company Inc designs, develops and markets casual and dress footwear for women and children. Its brands include Anne Klein 2, Dockers Footwear For Women, JG Hook, Joan and David, Mootsies Tootsies, and Sam & Libby.