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ICEBREAKER ACQUIRES GERMANY, SWEDEN & NORWAY DISTRIBUTOR
- Acquisition Continues European Growth Strategy -
Wellington, New Zealand and Munich, Germany, 8 December 2008 â€“ The world's leading merino technical outdoor apparel, Icebreaker, today announced the acquisition of its distributor in Germany, Sweden and Norway from Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. Maximilian Hofbauer was named General Manager of the new Icebreaker Pure Merino GmbH.
The new company will be based in Starnberg, Germany and will begin selling Icebreaker's new Fall/Winter 2009 apparel and accessories, which will debut at the ISPO tradeshow, 1-4 February 2009 in Munich. Acquisition from Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. was made in return for a multi-year extension of its Icebreaker distributorship in the U.K., Denmark and Finland.
Sales are booming for Icebreaker in Europe, with year-over-year growth of 70 percent. The acquisition in Europe is Icebreaker's second of the year and continues the Wellington-based company's aggressive growth strategy in Europe, which is now responsible for 30 percent of the company's worldwide business. In August 2008 Icebreaker announced the purchase of its France/Switzerland distributor, Rockline Nature Zone, and opened its first Eastern European sales and marketing office in the Czech Republic.
â€œIcebreaker is growing quickly as a company, and Max Hofbauer with his tremendous talent and background will continue to grow our brand and business in Germany, Sweden and Norway,â€ said Jeremy Moon, Founder and CEO of Icebreaker.
â€œOur European customers are looking for products that are natural, versatile, durable and ethical,â€ added Moon. â€œIcebreaker garments, made from pure merino, born in New Zealand's Southern Alps, breathe naturally, don't hold odor the way synthetics do, and are sustainable. For people who want to be closer to nature, it's the ultimate apparel for being outside.â€
Maximilian Hofbauer spent the past nine years as general manager for The North Face in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. From 1990-1998 he was national and international sales manager for Schoeffel Sportbekleidung in Germany.
â€œGermany, Sweden and Norway are among the most important outdoor markets in the world â€“ and are set to be one of Icebreaker's biggest opportunities over the next few years,â€ said Hofbauer, who wears Icebreaker garments to run, hike, climb, ski, sail and bike. â€œOur customers are highly discerning and socially committed, which are two of the reasons for our continued rapid growth.â€
Icebreaker apparel is now sold in the Europe in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Russia, Poland and Romania.
In October 2008, Icebreaker launched its pioneering traceability program in Europe called â€œBaacode.â€ The system enables customers to follow their garments through every step of the production process, beginning on the New Zealand South Island sheep stations where the merino is grown and extending throughout its entire supply chain. Icebreaker is one of less than a handful of consumer companies now offering product traceability.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino wool layering system for the outdoors. It was also the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino direct from growers, a system it began in 1997. There are now 10 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.
Icebreaker is sold in nearly 2,000 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 120 high country stations in the country's Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature's work with human technology and design.