Sales for Lafuma Group were up by 14.6 percent to €53.5 million for the first quarter of the 2009 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31. However, excluding Eider, which the company bought last year, revenues were down by 5.5 percent.
The drop came after a particularly strong fourth quarter through September. The company noted that many of its retail customers were trying to keep inventory low by reducing reorders even though weather conditions were conducive to sales of winter sports gear.
Among its operating segments, sales of the Lafuma brand for outdoor dropped by 4.9 percent; the Oxbow brand of surfwear and snowboard clothing decreased by 15.8 percent; and Le Chameau, in the hunting and fishing category category, fell by 10.6 percent. However, in mountain sports, with the brand Millet and Eider, sales jumped by 93.9 percent. Without Eider there would have still been 6 percent growth in this division, showing that Millet, the group's technical mountaineering gear, has recovered from its less-than-stellar performance during the 2007-08 financial year.
Le Chameau is making up for lost time after difficulties with deliveries related to the establishment of its new factory in Morocco; in December it saw significant growth.
Looking ahead, the company expects Lafuma to dip slightly, Le Chameau to remain flat, and Oxbow, which is more sensitive to market conditions, to continue to drop, though at a slower pace. Millet and Eider will continue their strong performance.
The company’s own activity rose by 18 percent, with 22 percent growth seen in Lafuma shops. Sales outside of France made up 37.5 percent of the company’s total revenues. The group’s financial release adds that the company’s negotiations with the banks are still going on in relation to its own failure to respect the covenants related to a portion of its medium-term debt.
The Lafuma Group continues to integrate the Eider brand into its existing distribution network for its other brands. Most recently, the German subsidiary of Lafuma, which used to be the headquarters of Big Pack, a local brand which that acquired by the French in 2002, took over the distribution of Eider in Germany. The market will be covered by the same sales staff that is in charge of the Lafuma and Big Pack brands in the field as well as in the customer service.
Eider was not directly on the German market for a while, but covered the region through its Dutch operations. The technical snow wear brand puts its focus on apparel only. Edwin Haid, the managing director of the German subsidiary, did not rule out that Eider would come up with footwear eventually, but it will not for the time being. Before Eider’s takeover by Lafuma, the footwear business was licensed to Royer, a French shoemaker from Brittany that markets various sports shoe brands.