Alistair Cameron, chief executive of Asics Europe, has been appointed chairman of Haglöfs' supervisory board, marking another step in the transition that has enabled the Swedish outdoor group to lean on the infrastructure of the much larger Japanese company while retaining much of its independence.
This board was formed in September 2010, two months after the acquisition of Haglöfs by Asics, and it came up with the global business plan that is guiding the Swedish brand's development under new ownership. The board was initially headed by Mats Hedblom, the former chief executive of Haglöfs, but he left the company and relinquished his seat on the board at the beginning of 2011.
Hedblom was replaced on the board by Lars Göthlin, a lawyer and former independent board member, who is now handing the reins over to Cameron. The latter remains at the helm of Asics Europe and Nicolas Warchalowski remains chief executive of Haglöfs.
Meanwhile, Magnus Nervé, formerly with Ikea and Reebok, has been appointed country manager for Haglöfs in Japan. The Swedish company recently set up its own operations in Japan, along with a subsidiary in South Korea and a partnership in China. The new Japanese subsidiary has also appointed a sales manager, Hideaki Endo. Fullmarks, the distributor that aptly built up Haglöfs in Japan, continues to deal with independent accounts for the brand.
The Asian investments came in a year that was relatively weak for Haglöfs compared with the previous years, but still yielded mid-single-digit turnover growth for its fiscal year 2011 which is the calendar year differing from Asics' own fiscal year. The Swedish brand's sales were affected by the warm weather in Scandinavia in the last quarter as well as issues with the company's warehouse in the summer.
The brand continued to do well in Germany, among others, but it was under pressure in Sweden, where sales were sharply reduced in the six weeks before the end of the year. The Swedish retail institute estimates that the country's retail sales of sporting goods dropped by about 13 percent in December, although the situation improved in January.
Asics indicated in its report for the three quarters until the end of December that the turnover of Haglöfs more than doubled to the equivalent of ¥6,218 million (€60.7m-$80.1m) for that nine-month period, compared with ¥2,555 million (€24.9m-$32.7m) for the same three quarters the previous year. However, this is largely due to the fact that Haglöfs was consolidated for all of the period in 2011, which was not the case the previous year.
The results released by Asics further show that Haglöfs suffered an operating loss of ¥117 million (€1.1m-$1.5m) for the nine months, which Asics attributed to amortization expenses for goodwill and intangible fixed assets arising from business integration in the previous fiscal year.