Haglöfs has appointed regional managers to run its international business, as part of a wider management reshuffle that was implemented at the start of this month. It fits within the Swedish outdoor brand's five-year strategic plan starting from 2011, Haglöfs Going Global, which has led to investments in new markets and own stores.
Jari Grev, Haglöfs' general manager in Finland, remains in charge in that country and became area manager for the Nordics. Aside from this new job, Grev has also become the company's head of sales. Nico Kruis, country manager for the Benelux countries, is now also supervising Haglöfs' operations in the U.K. and Germany. From January 2014, his remit will be widened further to encompass all European countries other than the Nordics, which Haglöfs describes as Area Central Europe. Magnus Nervé, the brand's country manager in Japan, has been appointed area manager in Asia-Pacific. These three managers are reporting directly to Nicolas Warchalowski, the company's chief executive.
With his new job as head of sales and regional manager, Grev has become part of the company's top management group, which has been rejiggered. Richard Jägrud, the brand's former sales director, has become its product director, while the former product director, Johnny Claus, has become operations director. As previously reported, another change is that Neil Bradley, formerly global business manager for apparel, left Haglöfs last month to become regional commercial director for Arc'teryx in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The company has also appointed a new chief financial officer, Eva Strand, who was previously finance director at GlaxoSmithKline. She replaces Espen Mortensen, who has been in the job for less than two years.
Outside of the management group, other changes are the appointment of Camilo Sjödin as business development and retail manager. Fredrik Kjellberg was appointed global marketing manager. This job was previously divided between product and brand marketing, with Kjellberg handling brand marketing.
The group's organization in the Nordics was also changed with the departure of Poul Nielsen, the longtime general manager for Haglöfs in Denmark. While holding this job, Nielsen remained the owner of STM Sport, a distribution company selling a dollop of outdoor brands in Denmark. With Nielsen's exit, Haglöfs will no longer use the STM Sport facilities in Denmark: Haglöfs will open its own office in Århus in April, and deliveries to Danish retailers will be handled from the company's warehouse in Sweden. Thomas Christensen, former sales manager, is replacing Nielsen at the helm of Haglöfs Denmark.
The changes come after another year of double-digit sales growth for the Swedish brand, driven by expansion in Asia. Two years after its acquisition by Asics in 2010, Haglöfs has rapidly taken over its distribution in Japan, opened another subsidiary in South Korea, and appointed distributors in China and Taiwan. Asian markets accounted for about 10 percent of the group's sales last year, compared with 5 percent in 2011, and Haglöfs expects that this share could double in two to three years' time.
But at the same time, Haglöfs has continued to expand in European markets. Most of them contributed to the turnover growth last year, led by Sweden and the U.K, while Haglöfs was affected by the shaky economic situation in Spain and Italy. Sales and orders so far this year point to continued double-digit growth.
The ample sales increase for Haglöfs in Sweden last year was helped by the sharp uptick in the entire Swedish sports and outdoor market at the end of the year. Still, Haglöfs said that its own sales increase was spread around the year and that it could be partly attributed to its own retail activities, with outstanding sales at its store in Stockholm. The retail expansion continues this year with the opening of a store in Oslo next month, and an outlet store near the Norwegian capital later this year. Haglöfs also plans to open two more stores this year in Japan, where it already has one shop, in Tokyo.
Footwear made up about 10 percent of sales last year, growing faster than other product categories owing to the support offered by Asics. Haglöfs is also reaping the benefits of wider investments, such as the expansion of its design team. It won four Ispo awards this year, including two Gold Winner gongs. They went to the Rando AS Suit, which is described as the world's first full ski suit in three-layer Gore-Tex Active; and the Roca II Hood, a durable soft-shell jacket.