Peak Performance, the Swedish ski, outdoor and golf brand, has inked a deal with Vermont Holding in the Czech Republic, covering distribution in that country along with Slovakia and Hungary. Vermont already has an agreement to sell Gant in the same countries, where it has opened 58 stores for that Swedish brand.
The same strategy will apply for Peak Performance, which will be sold only through mono-brand stores: At least four of them should be up and running by September, in Prague and in Bratislava. Peak Performance had already been sold in the Czech Republic but it pulled out entirely a few years ago.
The new partner is to start offering a mix of about 65 percent performance products and 35 percent casual apparel. A few months ago Peak Performance launched a casual range with a dedicated logo, consisting of two intertwined feathers, inspired from a logo it used in its earliest years.
Two more distribution deals are to be sealed shortly for the U.K. and Russia, the two other priority markets identified by Peak Performance for the expansion of its distribution in the coming years. The international forays are part of a five-year business plan outlined by Henrik Bunge, the former Adidas manager who became chief executive at Peak Performance last year.
As previously reported, he split the management into three regional units, dealing with the Nordics, central Europe and emerging markets. While Martin Netinder was already in place to head the emerging markets business, Joacim Sjödin was hired from the Adidas Group to head the Nordics last year and Max Niederreiter joined just a few weeks ago from Billabong to supervise other European subsidiaries, mostly in central Europe.
At the same time, Peak Performance has altered its management in Switzerland, the brand's second-largest European market. Bernard Kocher, the group's former country manager, was replaced with Marcel Hess, formerly at J. Lindeberg. Niederreiter, who is based at Peak Performance's office in Munich, is temporarily covering for the brand's German country manager, who is on leave.
Still, the Swedish company's sales did decline for the six months until the end of December. This was reported by IC Companys, the Danish group that owns Peak Performance along with 10 fashion brands. The six months through the end of December are the first half of its fiscal year.
The Danish company, which has launched cutbacks and other restructuring measures after a sharp drop in profits last year, saw its sales decline by 3 percent to 2,036 million Danish kroner (€272.9m-$360.2m) for the six-month period. However, its gross margin improved by 1.4 percentage points and its operating profit jumped by 10 percent to DKK 160 million (€21.4m-$28.3m).
IC Companys has split its business into three categories of brands, from premium to mid-market and fast fashion. Peak Performance belongs to the Premium segment, which lifted its sales by 1 percent to DKK 1,136 million (€152.3m-$200.8m). The only details provided by IC Companys are that Peak Performance's sales decline was offset by an increase at Tiger of Sweden. Orders taken by brands in the Premium segment during the six-month period increased by 2 percent. Separately, the Danish company said that it had decided to divest the Jackpot and Cottonfield brands, which have been suffering substantial losses in the last few years.