The new and more process-oriented brand management structure put in place since last June at the Tecnica Group under the management of Antonio Dus is bearing fruits. The Italian company's operating profit (Ebitda) grew by about 15 percent last year, according to preliminary data, and sales reached a level of €335 million, which was ten percent higher than in 2014 on a comparable basis, excluding the divested Dolomite business.
Sales went up year-on-year for each business unit except for inline skates. Rollerblade recorded a decline but would have increased by 4 percent without the bankruptcy of The Sports Authority. The brand, which had sold 840,000 pairs in 2015, is coming out with a new braking system in 2017.
The group's vast winter sports equipment business grew by 5 percent on a comparable basis last year, in spite of an estimated decline of 8 percent in the alpine ski equipment market at retail during the winter 2015/16 selling season, which affected forward orders for the current season. Japan fared worst and the Canadian market was pretty bad, too.
Blizzard had the fastest growth within the group. The brand's line of free-ride skis came at the top of the U.S. market. With a volume of 100,000 pairs in its first year, Nordica's Speedmachine was sold out.
More than half of the total turnover came from “non-snow” products in 2016. Together, Lowa and the outdoor division of the Tecnica brand, which is now an independent BU, scored a 10 percent sales increase on a comparable basis, excluding the divested business of Dolomite.
There will be news soon for the Tecnica Outdoor segment for another important BU, and Moon Boot. Last July 10, Moon Boot got a final recognition by a Milan court for trade dress protection of its unique silhouette, which was first launched in the market in 1969, preventing any further imitations.
At the recent Ispo Munich trade show, the group got an excellent reception to its “Women to Women” project of women-specific Blizzard skis and Tecnica boots. One of the company's new products, the Spur all-mountain ski by Blizzard, which features a Dynamic Release Technology, got an Ispo Gold Award. Two other products – the Mach1 Pro W women's boot by Tecnica and the Nordica Strider Pro 130 DYN freeride Nordica boot - got a simpler Ispo Award. The latter incorporates for the first time a Michelin sole, in contrast with a Tecnica boot with Vibram grip.
The new management of the Tecnica Group launched last month a new business plan that calls for a stronger focus on the individual brands in its portfolio, enhancing their distinctive features. This aspect of the new strategy was well reflected in the new design of the group's stand at Ispo Munich.
As part of the new business plan, a lean production system that the group began to apply to its various ski ranges three years ago is now being applied to its ski boots. The changeover should be completed this year.