The H&O chain, which is controlled by the Livnat family, a partner in IDB Holdings, has received rights to market international sportswear brand Champion in Israel.
The company, which has a world-wide annual turnover of over $2 billion, is one of the sponsors of the 2010 International Basketball Federation World Championship to be held in Istanbul in August.
The company is also an official sponsor of the American National Basketball Association.
Some NIS 20 million ($5.24 million) will be invested in bringing the brand to Israel over the next three years, and a chain of up to 10 independent Champion stores will be opened in the Jewish state.
The Livnat family and H&O's management decided to acquire franchise rights to additional international brands in order to strengthen the chain in the face of competition with brands such as H&M, which also caters to the entire family.
H&O's annual turnover amounts to some NIS 550 million ($144 million).
Nitzan Hadas, the H&O chain's CEO said, "We realized that we need to strengthen ourselves with brands from abroad, and not just rely on the chain's brands."
Champion operates 157 concept stores in Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland, Eastern Europe, Lebanon and Kuwait.
In the first stage, Champion stores will be operated within some of H&Os 34 branches across the country.
Within a year, the chain plans to begin opening independent shops, with the goal of having some 10 Champion stores operating in Israel within three years. The stores will offer a variety of t-shirts, training suits, sweatshirts and more.
Sportswear makes up some 20% of H&O's total sales, which is one of the main reasons that led it to choose the brand Champion.
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