Prana is considering the appointment of a European manager next year, as the American outdoor and yoga apparel brand taken over by Columbia Sportswear two years ago is stepping up investments to support its European distribution.
The California-based brand started putting more emphasis on its European business in the last year, as its international expansion was one of the main growth opportunities identified by the Columbia group at the time of the takeover. International sales made up less than 5 percent of Prana's turnover at the time but they have been growing faster than before over the last two years.
Pacho Bedoya, who had been hired as Prana's director of international sales in February 2015 to support the European sales drive, left the company to become vice president for Latin America at the Quiksilver group in May. The international sales push is thus directly driven by Sasha Dietschi-Cooper, who joined from Burton Snowboards to become vice president of global sales at Prana nearly two years ago.
Prana's European business continues to be operated independently of Columbia and other group brands, with separate distributors, but the company has been investing more to support these partners in terms of merchandising, retailing and direct relationships with key customers.
Input from European retailers and other partners has helped Prana to develop and launch adjusted product ranges, and particularly a small range of climbing apparel for the European market.
Some of the brand's operations in Asia and Latin America have been aligned more rapidly with the Columbia group. Meanwhile, Prana is preparing to move its warehousing operations to Columbia's distribution center for North America in Portland, Oregon.