Everton has announced the biggest commercial deal in the Club's 131-year history.
The Goodison Park Club has signed a 10-year agreement with Kitbag Limited, Europe's leading online sports retailer, to provide exclusive retail services on a global basis. The new agreement is expected to generate in excess of £30 million over the duration of the contract.
In addition to the deal with Kitbag, the new retail arrangement for Everton includes a sports marketing agreement of up to five years with Le Coq Sportif which will generate £3 million.
Kitbag Limited, whose existing portfolio of clubs includes Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, will operate under a bespoke Everton retail brand and will be directly responsible for high street shopping, mail order and the Club's online store.
Their vast experience in online sports retail will see the introduction of one of the most innovative football shopping web platforms in existence.
The deal will also mark a spectacular return for Everton retail in Liverpool City Centre with the opening of a new flagship store in the £920 million Liverpool One complex.
The new City Centre outlet will be the sister store of a fully refurbished retail operation at Goodison Park.
Chief Executive Officer, Robert Elstone said: "This new and exciting partnership represents real and tangible progress in the retail arena for Everton. It is, and will remain, a key area of the Club's overall business and therefore it was crucial to find the right partner. I believe we have done that with Kitbag Limited.
"Their pedigree in sports retail is first class - there is a refreshing progressiveness and ambition about their organisation and the way in which they run their business - one that I believe compliments ours. It will undoubtedly benefit Everton and our supporters for many years to come.
"There has been a significant amount of investment in this partnership from Kitbag already and it further demonstrates the ambition to improve our retail brand, our product ranges and customer service levels."
Ray Evans, Managing Director of Kitbag Limited, said: "We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to bring Everton fans a product offering through truly innovative retail environments that will reflect the heritage, passion and ambition that encompasses this football club.
"Our business employs very talented people who have great experience and fully understand the football club retail business - but most of all and crucially Kitbag people are all passionate football fans."
"Our capital investment into the Everton retail business is the single largest club partner investment in the history of our company. We are very much looking forward to revealing our plans and commitments to this business over the coming weeks."
Le Coq Sportif
The Le Coq Sportif brand - worn 25 years ago during the Club's most successful season - will be the official and recognised technical partner and the brand on the 2009/10 Everton home shirt that goes on sale in June.
Mr Elstone added: "Le Coq Sportif has a proud heritage, very closely aligned to Everton and we are delighted to be back amongst their stable.
"We are excited by the range and quality of products to be provided under the Le Coq Sportif umbrella and are confident, especially when fans see our new home shirt in June, that they'll agree we're at the start of a great, new sportswear partnership."
David Tolman, Managing Director of Focus International, licensee for Le Coq Sportif, said: "Le Coq Sportif was associated with Everton back in the glory years of the mid 80s and we are delighted to renew this relationship at a time when the Club is enjoying such a renaissance. The combination of the heritage values of both the club and Le Coq Sportif will deliver a powerful proposition for the fans."
Everton's new retail arrangement sees the Club part company with JJB Sports with whom they have enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship since 2004.
JJB Sports PLC will close the existing online store (evertonfc.com/megastore) and mail order at the end of trade (5pm) on Friday May 1, 2009 and the Club Megastore at Goodison will close on Sunday May 31, 2009.
Mr Elstone added: "Everyone at Everton has enjoyed the past 5 years working with JJB Sports. We would like to thank them for their continued support since 2004, particularly during recent, challenging economic times and wish them every success in the future.
"The Club would also like to place on record our thanks to Umbro. They have supported the Club with top quality product throughout the period of our partnership. We have enjoyed a resurgence in our fortunes on the field under the Umbro brand and we hope they bring us a final piece of good luck in the FA Cup Final at Wembley."