An article in a Norwegian national financial newspaper sparked a boom in sales of Rab in that country last year. The article boasted that a company with only three employees in Oslo had managed to build such a strong business in a highly competitive outdoor market. The management declines to spell out figures, but says that Norway was a standout for the British brand of affordable outdoor clothing in 2017, and that it also performed well in other foreign markets.
Rab's parent company, Equip Outdoor Technologies, which also owns Lowe Alpine, has not yet published its figures for the financial year ended last January, but said its growth accelerated from the previous year. For the year ended in January 2017, it had reported a 17.4 percent increase in total revenues to £44.4 million (€50.7m-$62.3m), in spite of lower income from royalties of £99,000 (€113,002-$138,897).
Sales went up 28.0 percent to £27.4 million (€31.3m-$38.5m) in the domestic U.K. market, by 7.5 percent to £7.5 million (€8.6m-$10.5m) in the rest of the European Union, and by 3.2 percent to £9.5 million (€10.8m-$13.3m) in the rest of the world.
Strong sales in Germany confirmed that having offices in key markets is a good strategy for growth. Apart from the head office in Derbyshire of its English holding company, Equip Outdoor Technologies, it now has offices in Oslo as well as Amsterdam, Montreal, Munich and Shanghai. An office in Boulder, Colorado, serves as the headquarters for the other brand of the group, Lowe Alpine.
With its regained concentration on packs, Lowe Alpine recorded particularly good sales in Germany and the Netherlands last year. Its performance may be partly credited to the appointment of Tim Fish as brand director at the beginning of 2017. It was a case of returning to his roots for Fish, who previously had his own company, Tim Fish Design. He worked as a senior pack designer for Lowe Alpine in 2005 for one year before starting his own business. Previously, he was with Berghaus for four years from 2000, as an equipment designer.
An important focus for Equip Outdoor in 2018 will be the consolidation of its two sites in Derbyshire into one location at Wimsey Way in the same county. A victim of its own rapid growth, the company had had to scatter more than 100 employees across two sites in the area. The consolidation is expected to be completed this year.