Portugal's Sonae Group ceased operations for its Berg Outdoor brand last month. Orders already taken for spring/summer 2019 were still delivered as planned, but there will be no further collections. The big Portuguese retail group had examined alternative strategies for the brand, which was created in 2002 as a private label for its Sport Zone chain of sporting goods stores in Portugal and Spain, but sales of the brand beyond Sport Zone stores remained poor.
The group's pull-out from the outdoor sector was accelerated by the recent merger between Sport Zone and JD Sports Fashion, forming a big Iberian sports retailing group operating also under the JD Sports and Sprinter banners through a joint venture with Sonae. Sport Zone stores are being gradually converted to JD stores.
Berg Outdoor has built up its own sales team in 2015, based in Porto, to handle the brand's distribution to other retailers in Europe. In France, the brand signed a distribution contract with the Wood Agency, which reported a good sell-out for several seasons through more than 75 retailers in the country.
The collection, which had reasonable prices and was made in Portugal, included both men's and women's apparel for mountaineering and trail running as well as shoes and accessories. In October 2017, Berg Outdoor developed a range of technical mountain sports products to increase sales to specialist retailers around Europe. According to sources consulted by Tradesport, the Spanish trade magazine, Berg Outdoor will remain in the Iberian market until it liquidates its inventories through certain Sport Zone stores and one of the company's factory outlets.