Tricots Saint-James, the manufacturer of traditional French fishermen’s sweaters, is to invest 300,000 euro ($261,900) on setting up a distribution company in the US by the end of 2002.

The move will enable Tricots Saint-James to increase its sales in the country, where it currently has 50 outlets and realises 5 per cent of its exports.

Japan represents 40 per cent of its exports, and North Korea 10 per cent.

Tricots Saint-James was founded in 1889, employs a 320 staff, and has an annual output of 1 million garments.