After an overhaul of its product offering in the last years to expand in international markets, Berghaus is preparing to move into the U.S. market with its own subsidiary. The British outdoor brand, owned by Pentland Group, is already selling its products directly to a few American accounts, but the opening of its own office paves the way for a full-fledged launch in the country, which is planned to take place in the second half of next year. Berghaus has yet to pick a location and to appoint a general manager for its U.S. operations.
The momentous move into the U.S. is coming after the opening of another new subsidiary for Berghaus in India earlier this year. The unit is based at the Pentland office in Chennai, but has its own staff and resources to launch the brand in this big country – to be followed by surrounding markets in the coming years. It started by selling to military units and companies organizing expeditions in India, but is beginning to target the emerging Indian outdoor retail business as well.
Berghaus has already built up a sizable business in other parts of Asia in the recent past. After consolidating its long-standing partnership with E-Land in South Korea with a network of mono-brand stores, it teamed up with Symphony Resources in China and then opened a subsidiary in Japan last year.
Since the appointment of Richard Cotter at the helm of the company five years ago, Berghaus has entirely reviewed its product offering. Alongside products adapted to the specific U.K. market, it has come up with a global range containing more lightweight products with a tighter cut and more lively colors.
Furthermore, Berghaus has segmented its offering in five distinct product ranges, which has enabled it to widen its price structure – with more high-end products as well as lower entry-level prices. This was partly meant to address the fast-growing market for products intended as everyday outdoor wear. By far the largest share of the brand’s own sales still goes through specialist outdoor retailers.
This widened offering has fueled the expansion of the brand in Europe as well as in the U.K. While Pentland refuses to divulge a sales figure for Berghaus, it says that the brand enjoyed sales growth of more than 20 percent last year. It should expand at an even faster rate this year, based on current orders.
Another aspect of the brand’s strategy in the U.K. is its increased focus on direct-to-consumer sales, through an electronic store, dedicated space in outdoor stores and its own stores. Berghaus will open its sixth British store in partnership with a retailer in Bristol in September.
In other European markets, Berghaus has strongly expanded its network of distributors and agents in the last years and further structural investments are afoot for the coming months.
The expansion of Berghaus into Eastern Europe will be easier than in the past as Pentland secured rights to the brand throughout the territory a couple of years ago. Prior to that, a Dutch women's fashion company had been using the name in some Eastern European countries.