Montagne Outdoors, which claims to be the largest producer and retailer of outdoor products in Argentina, is moving its administrative and commercial services into a new five-floor corporate building. The company's new head office is located at 5369 Córdoba Street in Buenos Aires, in an interesting area of the city where Columbia Sportswear, The North Face and other outdoor brands have set up their factory outlet stores.

The new office is located on the opposite side of its former head office, which has been housed until now next to its factory and to one of its stores. Following the move, the company will also seek to improve the productivity of its manufacturing activities and to expanding the proportion that is made in-house. The move marks an important step in the development of Montagne, coinciding with several other interesting new initiatives.

Montagne will also participate next year for the first time in the B2B section of the big Adventure Sports Fair in São Paulo, the largest of the kind in Latin America, to help find distribution partners in Brazil. While Montagne has been thinking about entering the European market, too, it hasn't had any discussions with potential distributors there. The company had a franchised store in Switzerland for a while, but it does not exist any longer.

The company was founded in 1972. Its founder was born in Turin, the Italian city near the Alps, and he called it Montagne because it is the French word for mountain. The Italian version of the name, montagna, is not very different.

Montagne started its business by selling boats and small ships, but after 40 years in that market, the company left the nautical sector and focused on camping products and outdoor clothes. Curiously, the trade name, which is quite suitable for an outdoor manufacturer, is the same that it used from its inception.

Nowadays Montagne employs 700 people at its own factory, at its offices and at its own 28 mono-brand stores in the country. Besides its strong e-commerce platform, it has 22 other stores managed by franchisees, and its products are sold in more than 300 major multi-brand stores all over Argentina and in neighboring countries.

In the short term, the company is planning to open five more corporate stores in the city of Buenos Aires, the Greater Buenos Aires area, Mendoza and Córdoba. Montagne label is sold by, besides its own stores and franchises, more than 300 retailers all over Argentina and border countries.

Franchising is big in Argentina, and Montagne offers an attractive package of services and benefits to its franchisees. Franchising is high on the company's agenda for the next years. Individual customers tend to spend an average of AR$365 (€65-$85) each at Montagne stores.

Montagne sells more than 140,000 jackets per year along with lots of sleeping bags, tents, backpacks and camping items. It achieved sales of 74 million Argentinian pesos (€13.2m-$17.3m) in 2010, and it was projecting an increase to AR$85 million (€15.1m-$19.8m) for 2011.

Much of the turnover comes from its own and franchised stores, where the company also sells Salomon footwear and accessories by other companies to complement its own collection.

Although Montagne is mainly a local brand and most of its revenues come from the Argentinian market, the company started a process to expand to bordering countries two years ago. Selling mainly its outdoor garments, which have a good price-quality ratio, it has managed a successful landing in Chile, another big outdoor market in South America, and it is getting stronger, slowly but surely, in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Mexico.

To consolidate its leadership on the Argentinian market, Montagne has created the “Montagne Community”, a program that gives several benefits to its regular customers.

It offers special discounts, promotions and invitations to special events: Twice a year, it organizes a stock clearance sale where community members get extra discounts. Customers are also eligible for discounts on their birthdays, and they receive the company's newsletter, presenting new product releases and featuring articles on outdoor life.

The Montagne Community has so far enlisted more than 110,000 active members, and it adds approximately 3,000 new ones each month. Other marketing actions involve social networks such as Facebook, where Montagne counts 6,500 friends, and Twitter, with 300 followers.

Its website has been receiving 96,000 visits per month lately.

Montagne claims to be the only national brand in Argentina that offers high-quality products as good as the international brands at competitive prices. Its main challengers in Argentina are foreign brands such as Salomon, Columbia and The North Face.

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