The young American company, which was taken over by Helen of Troy last year for $210 million, has struck a new distribution deal in Japan with Alco International. The new sales partner is expected to open more than 100 accounts in the early part of this year for its insulated stainless steel bottles, and to launch a Japanese e-commerce operation.
The brand is now selling in a total of 20 countries outside the U.S., including 17 in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, where Hydro Flask opened its own subsidiary, based in Basel, Switzerland, last April.
The company is making new and interesting efforts to raise its penetration of the European market, where its bottles are currently sold in just over 600 stores, including those of Au Vieux Campeur in France, Cotswold Outdoor in the U.K., Globetrotter in Germany and Naturkompaniet in Sweden. The last three countries have been its fastest-growing markets in the region.
David Ledouble, who is running Hydro Flask EMEA, has expanded the sales network to four distributors and ten sales agencies. The back-office operations are conducted from Helen of Troy's existing office in nearby Lausanne.
In preparation for the recent Christmas holiday season, Hydro Flask EMEA supported some retailers with attractive in-store presentations to highlight its brand and its products. Focusing on consumers, Hydro Flask has hired five PR agencies in the region and organized nine consumer events that will take place this year in the U.K., Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and France.
At the upcoming Ispo show in Munich, Hydro Flask will involve several brands in co-branding activities, getting them to refresh their customers with a customized Hydro Flask True Print glass. In addition to Black Diamond, where Ledouble worked before, Julbo, La Sportiva and Patagonia will play the game with Hydro Flask at the trade show.
Ledouble is looking for a specialist in consumer event marketing to further develop consumer-facing activities, like those that have been done in the U.S. with excellent results.
Among other recent actions, Hydro Flask announced a series of cash grants and product donations to non-profit organizations that are working to build, restore and preserve national parks in the U.S.
Hydro Flask's overall growth slowed down in the third quarter of Helen of Troy's financial year, ended last Nov. 30. It only grew by 7.8 percent to $34.4 million, but the group's management said it performed above expectations, particularly in outdoor retail stores and on the internet, where Amazon is the brand's largest client.
The management expressed confidence about the brand's future performance, thanks to the release of innovative products and increasing brand awareness and loyalty. Aside from its international expansion, Hydro Flask is also carving out a bigger presence for the brand in the food sector.
Hydro Flask's relative growth helped to limit a decline in other segments where Helen of Troy operates during the latest quarter. The group's total sales fell by 0.2 percent to $444.4 million during the period, but its net income went up by 13 percent to $57.6 million.