For its fiscal year 2008-09 ended Sept. 30, the Lafuma Group recorded a sales decline of 3 percent to €254.2 million. While the international business was basically flat at €104.0 million (-0.1 percent), sales decreased by 4.9 percent in the French home market to €150.2 million.

The environment was especially difficult for the Great Outdoor division, which comprises the Lafuma core brand as well as Ober, a jeanswear brand that is marketed in France and Belgium. Sales of the Lafuma brand declined by 10 percent, while Ober lost a hefty 28 percent of its sales.

Altogether, sales in the outdoor division were down by 12 percent and reached €104.9 million. More encouraging were the sales of the higher-end brands, Millet and Eider, which soared from €50.5 million to €68.8 million, partially due to Eider, which had its first full fiscal year within the family of Lafuma brands. Eider, which was acquired in June 2008, generated sales of €19.2 million over the full fiscal year 2008-09. These brands are organized under the helm of the group’s Mountain division. Millet performed particularly well in Japan.

The other divisions suffered from declining sales, including Oxbow, the surf brand, which lost 14.3 percent of its sales and went down to €67.2 million. Oxbow was mainly affected by lower sales outside France, where it lost some 24 percent in turnover. The group sees the brand not sufficiently organized internationally.

Le Chameau, a brand of hunting boots and related equipment, suffered from a special effect in the U.K., the brand’s second most important market, where it had to struggle against a negative development of the pound sterling. Le Chameau’s overall sales slipped by 8.3 percent to €26 million.

The Lafuma group also has some positive stories to tell: Own retail activities, both in brick-and-mortar stores and on the internet, were up by 12.5 percent. Another nice development has been recorded in Asia, one of Lafuma’s strategic key markets, where sales were up by 38 percent. Financially, the company sees itself in a good position because it managed to reduce its inventories by some €10 million. On top of this, no banks were involved in the exceptional cost for restructuring during the fiscal year 2008-09.