Esprit to return to Canadian retail scene in 2016

Esprit, the international fashion brand that pulled out of Canada in 2011, is set to return next spring with stand-alone stores.

Partnering with Montreal's Freemark Apparel Brands to open stand-alone stores in spring 2016

Esprit, the international fashion brand that pulled out of Canada in 2011, is set to return next spring with stand-alone stores.

It is partnering with Montreal-based Freemark Apparel Brands, which distributes brands such as Bench, Scotch and Soda and Silvian Heach to Canadian retailers.

The locations of stores have yet to be announced.

Esprit was founded in San Francisco by Douglas Tompkins, also a co-founder of North Face,  who died Tuesday in a kayaking accident in Chile.

In 1968, he and his wife Susie began selling clothing out of the back of their car. Esprit became enormously popular in the 1980s before falling out of favour with consumers.

It was losing money in the competitive Canadian and U.S. fashion markets when it pulled out in 2011 to concentrate on international sales.

Now headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Hong Kong it has developed lines of casual, collection, bodywear, accessories and sports wear.

"With the North American continent being the birthplace of our brand, we are convinced that we can revive the Canadian consumer's strong relationship with Esprit as it has been missed in the marketplace for several years," Dieter Messner, Esprit general manager for Europe, Americas & Middle East said in a news release today.

The apparel may be sold through arrangements with other retailers, as well as stand-alone stores and online.

Esprit is carried in more than 40 countries with 900 retail stores worldwide.

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