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>> The outlook for the outdoor industry in Europe is seen as positive per the German Outdoor Trade Group that has been responsible for organizing the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen. Rolf Schmid, CEO of Mammut and chair of the group, said recently that the group was forecasting a 5 percent overall growth in the next year. Broken down by segment: Apparel forecasts 4 percent growth, according to Vaude CEO Albrecht von Dewitz. In the footwear segment, Lukas Meindl said classic outdoor is somewhat stagnated, while technical shoes are going well. Backpacks should see a growth of about 3 percent to 4 percent, according to Andreas Schechinger of Tatonka. Sleeping bags, however, are still experiencing a decline and may see a drop of 5 percent to 10 percent, says Knut Jaeger of Lafuma/Big Pack, which he blames on the proliferation of inexpensive offerings. Overall, the outdoor industry makes up about 20 percent of the sporting goods market. The forecast was given in a press conference at the OutDoor show.
>> Mountain Gear (www.mountaingear.com) has acquired the assets of Shoreline Mountain Products, a mail-order and online retail operation specializing in climbing and mountaineering products for the core user. Shoreline is now a division of Mountain Gear, although the company will continue to operate as a separate entity with its own marketing materials and website. Following the acquisition, Shoreline moved from the company’s San Rafael, Calif. home to the Spokane, Wash. base of Mountain Gear. Purchasing for Shoreline will now be handled by Mountain Gear’s Larry Pluimer and Eric Barratt. Tom Shore, owner of Shoreline, will remain with Mountain Gear as a consultant for an undetermined period. SNEWS View: Savvy move by both Paul Fish of Mountain Gear and Tom Shore. Shoreline brings an even more credible climbing presence to an already strong Mountain Gear team, further cementing the company as the place to shop for core mountaineers and climbers. Shoreline will benefit from Mountain Gear’s strength in distribution, as well as marketing strength and lowered cost structures through the integration.
>> Roswell Brayton, president and CEO of Woolrich, Inc., told SNEWS at OR that Jerry Rinder of Fairfield, Conn., is the company’s new vice president of sales and domestic licensing. He will report directly to Brayton. Rinder comes to Woolrich after serving as vice president and general manager of Swiss Army Brands, Victorinox Division. Prior to his tenure at Swiss Army Brands, he was executive vice president of Pringle of Scotland, manufacturer of knitwear, sweaters and golf lines. He has also had extensive apparel and footwear experience with both Timberland and Izod LaCoste. SNEWS View: This is a strong hire for Woolrich, as Rinder brings bucket-loads of licensing experience to the table with him. We would expect to see Woolrich slow the company’s licensing moves under Rinder, with any licensing additions and directional moves being made in a calculated manner with long-term strategy goals focused on strengthening the overall brand image and position.
>> BroForm has named Chad Sorenson as account manager responsible for retail and industry buyer accounts. Sorenson comes to BroForm with an extensive sales and service background, including over five years in the outdoor and action sports industries. Prior to joining BroForm, Sorenson worked in sales with GT Bicycles/Riteway Distribution, followed by stints with the Interbike and Outdoor Retailer trade show organizations as account coordinator and account executive, respectively.
>> With temperatures hitting 135 degrees, Misty Mate is proving to be a literal lifesaver for U.S. troops serving in Iraq. More than 6,000 units have been shipped to Iraq under an effort called “Cool Our Troops” started by two military wives. Misty Mate agreed to sell them the cooling systems, which produce a mist using a hand pump without electricity or batteries, at cost. The group has been raising donations to cover the costs of the misters and have another 3,000 units ready to ship to Iraq on the next flight. For more information, check out www.coolourtroops.com.