‘Best ideas are ones you stumble across’ – Puma designer
28 May 2013
Puma’s head of creative and design for the Mobium Elite has told footwearbiz.com that he researches areas he is not an expert in in the hope of finding something that can improve performance footwear as a category, and that the best ideas are usually the ones he “stumbles across”.
Ray Horacek is the brains behind the company’s latest launch, an innovative shoe based on a cat’s paw that expands and contracts with the foot.
“The research, design and prototypes, sample molds, several rounds of testing and the commercialisation process afterward all added up to quite a strenuous yet extremely enjoyable ride,” he added.
The shoe uses a band in a figure of eight to enhance natural spring.
“Several people have told me that they started running after buying Mobium,” added Mr Horacek. “This for me is something very powerful and transformational – not just a transformational idea and product, but one that actually helps change peoples’ lives in a positive way."
Geox pins hopes on Asia as Italian sales fall a third
16 May 2013
Italian breathable shoe company Geox has seen sales fall 20% for the first quarter, which it says is due to the unfavourable economic climate.
It reported sales of 262.5 million, with sales in Italy down a third to EUR 89.9 million. In the rest of Europe, which accounts for 44% of group sales, they fell 17% to EUR 115.9 million.
Geox chairman Mario Moretti Polegato said the company was in a transition year, and added: “Despite the uncertainty of the timing of the consumption recovery in Europe, we are confident that our strategy focused on investments in new products and on the gradual shift of our commercial activities towards emerging markets such as Asia-Pacific and Russia, where our expansion is in rapid and positive evolution represents the base for future development of the Group and the relaunch of its growth.”
During first quarter, the company opened 34 stores but closed 36, to total 1,218. Launches included shops in Budapest, Valencia, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Former Nike exec takes top job at LaCrosse
23 May 2013
LaCrosse Footwear, a US brand bought by a Japanese retailer last year, has appointed a new president.
Robert Sasaki was formerly a finance director at Nike, where he focused on Asia.
LaCrosse’s CEO Joseph Schneider and chief financial officer David Carlson stepped down when ABC Mart purchased the company for $138 million in July last year.
Mr Sasaki said in a statement: "We recognise the unique opportunity for legendary American heritage brands Danner and LaCrosse to partner with Japan's leading footwear retailer."
The Japanese group has promised investment in manufacturing and distribution in Europe and Asia.
Marco Reus will show off new Puma boots at Wembley
23 May 2013
The latest colourway for Puma’s PowerCat 1 FG football boot will be on display at the 2013 UEFA Champions’ League final in London on May 25.
Borussia Dortmund striker Marco Reus will wear the boots, in his club’s black-and-yellow colours for the first time in the game, which will be against Bayern Munich.
Fatal accident at shoe factory in Cambodia
16 May 2013
Three people have been killed at a footwear factory in Cambodia. A government minister confirmed the casualties on May 16, explaining that the ceiling of a warehouse had collapsed.
Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs, told Reuters that a further six workers had been injured in the incident at the plant in the Kong Pisei district of Kampong Speu province, 50 kilometres west of Phnom Penh.
“We will investigate the case and we will take measures against those involved,” he said.
Reuters identified the plant as one belonging to Taiwanese group Wing Star Shoes and said Japanese sports brand Asics was one of the brands whose shoes are made at the factory. The news agency approached Asics for comment, but the Japanese company said it was seeking more information.
Reuters interpreted the minister’s comments as meaning the government will take seriously any suggestions that factory owners may be cutting corners to save costs.
Industry sources have told footwearbiz.com that tensions have been growing in the footwear sector in Cambodia, with some reports of the authorities imposing a 30% increase in wages on factory owners at the start of May 2013.
Steve Madden sales rise 5% in Q1
09 May 2013
The CEO of US-based footwear retailer Steve Madden has said the increase of first-quarter sales can be attributed to the design team’s “on-trend assortment”.
Edward Rosenfeld added that store openings and the growth of the accessories business contributed to the growth.
Sales increased 4.9% to $278.9 million and income rose 7% to $23.4 million for the first quarter.
He added: “Steve and his design team continue to deliver outstanding, on-trend product assortments that are enabling us to outperform the competition, and so despite the challenging environment, we are confident we can continue to advance on our growth objectives.”
Adidas footwear factory workers anonymously text complaints
09 May 2013
German sportswear group adidas has published its 2012 Sustainability Progress Report, in which it announces the results of a project to improve communication between factory management and workers in its supply chain.
A pilot project that enabled employees at one of its main footwear suppliers in Indonesia to text complaints has been rolled out across Asia.
In its first months of operation, workers shared grievances on human resources-related issues, such as staff reductions, working hours and insurance, and also asked questions and made suggestions to their management.
“Protecting the interests of global workers involved in manufacturing our products is an ongoing priority for the adidas Group as we constantly strive to improve workers’ conditions in our suppliers’ factories,” said Glenn Bennett, adidas board member responsible for global operations.
The success of the pilot project has led to its extension to four other factories in Indonesia and one in Vietnam.
Frank Henke, adidas group global director for social and environmental affairs, said: “Some years ago, we established 2015 targets for the adidas Group, and we constantly review our performance against them.”
Adidas reports record profit margins for first quarter
07 May 2013
Adidas has posted a record profit margin for the first quarter, boosted by sales of higher priced products.
Despite a 2% fall in first-quarter sales, operating profit at the world's second largest sportswear maker rose 8% to $578 million.
Its chief executive, Herbert Hainer, said it was a tough quarter compared with the same time last year when sales were boosted by the European football championships and the London 2012 Olympics.
Adidas has been struggling with problems at Reebok, and took a EUR 265 million writedown on the brand last year.
The German company said it was focusing on yoga, dance and fitness training for 2013.