We knew we needed to do some creative marketing to position the brand in the United States. After signing the license agreement, we installed Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen as creative directors for Superga and also partnered with them on the collaboration with their designer brand The Row.
The Row for Superga collection consists of the Classic 2750, a luxurious fabrications like Italian Linen and Cashmere. Initial shipments of the collaboration sold out quickly of retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Barneys.
We also opened the Superga flagship store on Crosby Street in SoHo. In connection with the opening Ashley and Mary-Kate hosted a launch party that generated outstanding coverage in both traditional press and the blogosphere. These efforts have served to create enormous buzz around the brand and so far the launch of Superga has exceeded all expectations.
Regular Superga line is currently carrying retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and J.Crew, as well as top independent boutiques across the country. Initial sell-throughs has been nothing short of outstanding. We are very excited about the opportunity with this brand as we move ahead.Our next brand introduction comes this quarter, with the launch of Betseyville, as an exclusive brand J.C. Penney. The first Betseyville product ships at the end of August and will be on the floor at the beginning of September. We will be doing footwear, handbags, fashion scarves, cold weather accessories and sunglasses in-house, and we have licensed now jewelry, watches, intimate apparel and hosiery. Betseyville will be carrying approximately 600 J.C. Penney doors. The second big growth opportunity we have outlined is expanding our direct-to-consumer business, after shrinking the store base by 17% from 2007 to 2011 as we focused on improving the profitability of the existing stores. We now have a rejuvenated and highly profitable retail business and we are once again in expansion mode in 2012.