Deuter expects its sales to increase by about 6 percent in its new financial year, which will end on June 30, 2020. As indicated in our last issue, the brand did not perform as well in the year ended on June 30, due in part to a change of distribution in China. Sales declined slightly also in Germany and the U.S., and the brand will finally have to report a drop of between 2 and 3 percent for the past year. Deuter and other brands that belong to Schwan-Stabilo's outdoor division had risen by 3.1 percent to €169.3 million in the previous year.
Meanwhile, Schwan-Stabilo has finally formalized the establishment of a sales subsidiary in China for its whole outdoor division, taking the place of a former distributor. Rick Zhn has been appointed as chief executive of the company's new branch in China, called Schwan-Stabilo China Outdoor. Zhn worked previously for Decathlon in China, where he was responsible for the outdoor division. He is starting to work in Shanghai with a staff of three, which should become ten by the end of this year. The plan is that the office will also take care of the Chinese market in the future for Ortovox, Maier Sport and Gonso, the other three brands in the group's outdoor division.
Another major focus of the division is to increase the brand's market share in the U.S. backpack market from five to ten percent. As reported, Deuter will also launch its own online store for Germany in September, followed by one for the U.S. market next February. Ortovox, a faster-growing outdoor brand of the group, will also have its own German web store at the end of this year.
The move, which has drawn some criticism from traditional German retailers, is in line with Deuter's much-publicized decision to stop working with Amazon and Ebay, following a positive court decision in Frankfurt at the end of 2015, and to practice a more selective distribution model in Germany from the beginning of 2019 (Compass Vol. 11, N° 17+18 of Aug. 30, 2018).
At the recent OutDoor by Ispo show in Munich, Deuter presented its new series of Guide backpacks – called Guide, Guide Light and Guide Pro – that will be introduced next spring. Since July 2018, Deuter has been accompanying two people on their way to becoming mountain guides, and a social media campaign around them will be launched next March to support the introduction of the new range.
Deuter also presented a new TransAlpine range of backpacks for the bike sector, as well as a new model of Air Contact backpacks. The Air Contact Pro backpack, which is 400 grams lighter than the traditional Air Contact backpack, will be sold together with a Lonely Planet guidebook.