Patrick Frisk, who runs the businessf of The North Face in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has given an update on how the brand has been doing in the region as of end of April. Outdoordata.com, the French trade publication, reports that sales in TNF's present seven corporate stores were up by 16 percent, while its 37 European franchises sold 3 percent more than in the first four months of 2008. Altogether sales through TNF's single-brand doors have a share of some 6 percent of total sales in the region.

The goal for 2009 is to open six more corporate stores and six in partnership with local retailers. The European retail landscape should see some 100 new shop-in-shops, about double the number of openings of soft shops last year.

Frisk was cautious about the sales outlook for the current year in part because pre-orders for summer 2010 are not in yet and because of the financial crisis, particularly in the U.K., which is TNF’s most important European market before Germany (followed by Italy and France).

In France, the development of the brand seems to be good with a projected growth of 5 or 10 percent for the current year. The brand sees good opportunities in the French market, where it will open four corporate and six franchised doors this year and where it is seeking stronger ties to buying groups such as Intersport, Sport 2000 and the latter’s new specialty retail format, called Espace Montagne.