After its acquisition by Swix earlier this year, Lundhags is unfurling a strategic plan that is meant to increase its exposure and to widen its appeal. The new approach is encapsulated in the Swedish brand's new tagline, “Love the Seasons,” focused on the concept of an authentic Nordic brand, offering products for all seasons.
Lundhags had already started to rejigger its strategy before the change of ownership, but it was given more means to go ahead when it was divested by EQT, the Swedish investment firm, and taken over by Swix, the Norwegian owner of the Swix brand as well as Toko wax and the Ulvang and Bavac apparel brands. The new tagline for Lundhags was introduced in advertisements, merchandising equipment and other marketing material in the last weeks.
Lundhags has long been a confidential family-owned company, making sturdy outdoor boots and Nordic skates that were appreciated almost solely by Swedes. But in the last few years, the company has strongly diversified, with a more family-oriented assortment and marketing approach, and it wants to move further in this direction.
Lundhags reached sales of 110.5 million Swedish kronor (€12.8m-$15.7m) in 2011, which was roughly flat, but sales and profits rebounded in the first months of this year. About half of the turnover is generated in Sweden, while the remainder comes from a few international markets, led by Norway, Finland and Germany. Apparel has become the largest product category for Lundhags, with footwear close behind. The two categories together make up about 80 percent of the company's turnover, while the remainder consists of backpacks and skates.
Among its investments, the company will turn the spotlights on its pants, which are meant to be the flag-bearer for Lundhags' technical garments. Their distinctive aspect is a combination of materials, using stretch fabric and a special blend of polycotton. Another move is the launch of a “Boot Book,” which is meant to celebrate boots in general, and particularly the shell construction that is characteristic of Lundhags boots (consisting of a protective shell that is intended to be worn with an insole and one or two pairs of socks). Published in English, German and Swedish, this hardcover book is replacing Lundhags' catalog for this year, to be distributed to stores and special customers.
As part of the company's latest strategy, the head office in Järpen, in the northern province of Jämtland, has been downsized to a dozen employees, working in customer support, in product development and production for boots, and in a factory outlet store. Meanwhile, managerial functions, marketing and sales have been moved to another office in Stockholm, also employing a dozen people. The company has closed down its warehouse in Järpen and entrusted warehousing to another company in Gothenburg.
Still, Lundhags managers insist that they want to keep their head office in Järpen and take more advantage of the impressive building, which is in a very visible spot along the main road from Östersund to Åre – making it particularly suitable to underline the authentic aspect of the Lundhags brand.
Meanwhile, the company has hired Nicole Rimér to be in charge of design. Most recently she has worked for Fjällräven and before for Peak Performance and SOS Sportswear. New marketing director is Sara Wänseth who switched from Haglöfs to Lundhags. Previously, she ran the marketing of Woolpower, the Swedish brand of base layers.
Simultaneously, the group has taken the distribution of Lundhags in its own hands as far as Austria and Germany is concerned. The Lundhags business will be operated through Swix Sport, the German subsidiary based outside Munich and directed by Raik Dittrich who is also the managing director of Toko-Swix Sport AG, the Swiss subsidiary. Sales will be coordinated by Michael Stephan who also acts as sales representative for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The new combination replaces the Agentur für Outdoor Produkte.