After celebrating its 150th anniversary with an unprecedented mountaineering and marketing campaign over more than year, Mammut Sports Group is back into strategies for future development and entering new markets. The company's new partner in the Czech Republic is Hudy Sports, a local distributor and retailer that operates 34 own stores in the Czech Republic as well as seven more in Slovakia and two stores in Poland.

According to Alina Lytvynenko, Mammut's area sales manager for new and developing markets, the agreement calls for Hudy to act as distributor to other independent stores as well as a retailer through Hudy's own stores in the Czech Republic. At this point, Hudy would have to buy Mammut gear from the existing distributors in the neighboring countries if it wanted to sell it in its foreign stores, because those wholsalers have exclusive distribution rights for their respective territories.

Mammut had a longtime partner in the Czech Republic, Ji?í Š?astný, whose company still bears the name of Mammut Sport s.r.o., but the brand rights will soon be returned to the Swiss supplier. This former partner, which runs two shops in the country, was apparently too small to develop the brand in the country with the necessary marketing efforts.

Encouraged by the success of its single-brand store in Santiago, Chile, which opened last May on 120 square meters, Mammut is increasingly interested in the Latin American market. Lytvynenko points out that other big countries in the region such as Argentina and Brazil are difficult to penetrate due to the local trade restrictions imposed on foreign companies. Mammut, therefore, has other preferences and is zeroeing in on the Andean region of northwestern South America. The brand's new partner there is Rutas Corporation, a company based in Panama City that has been granted the exclusive rights to distribute Mammut in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

To start with, Rutas will concentrate in a first step on the Andean countries of Ecuador and Peru; the other two may follow. Rutas operates Explorer, a specialty retail chain for technical outdoor equipment operating in the same four countries. Starting next year, Mammut intends to install shop-in-shops in some of those outlets. Rutas is part of the larger Depa group which is, among other businesses, a longtime distribution partner of Nike in the region.

It took the Swiss brand some 15 months to celebrate its 150th anniversary with 150 mountain tours, to which it invited consumers through social networks it uses. Participants were taken to high mountains such as Mount Everest, and on less challenging adventures, such as hiking Denmark's highest hill. One trip led into a mine 1,500 meters under the surface. The 150th tour that brought the big party to an end was reserved for 400 Mammut employees who climbed a rather unchallenging mountain in Germany, but they did so by building what is probably the longest roped party ever with some 1,000 meters of rope.

Altogether the series of events was packed with records: 1,956 mountaineering enthusiasts selected from 35,000 applicants took part and needed the same number of jackets, backpacks and pants. Ten thousand meters of climbing ropes were in use in 39 countries. As true Swiss patriots, the Mammut team also organized one climb onto the top of the country's most famous mountain, the Matterhorn ? naturally with the participation of Miss Switzerland.