The company’s distributors in the UK and in some other markets have been very critical of a pricing policy that allows certain German internet retailers to charge lower prices than their own retail clients to the final customer. Birkenstock has now decided to get around the problem by raising its basic recommended retail prices in Germany, starting next Jan. 1, while offering a mark-up of up to 157 percent and a discount of up to 26 percent to the retailers who feature its products in a more extensive way and with more service.

While revising the price structure in Germany, Birkenstock has agreed to work for the first time with Reno in Germany and in the numerous other countries where this big German retailer has a presence. It previously did not want to sell its products to Reno because of its reputation for discounting, but this retailer has been trading up lately and Birkenstock has reached an agreement that will give it an upgraded positioning in its stores.

Birkenstock continues to work with independent shoe retailers on single-brand shops, which now number about 40 in Germany, with the latest one opened recently in the romantic and touristy city of Rothenburg. On the other hand a plan to start up the first joint venture stores on larger surfaces of 120-150 square meters in major cities is still on the back burner.

Meanwhile Birkenstock is expanding its collection into closed shoes, adding some boat shoes and dress shoes for men and women. While the uppers are made in Italy, they feature Birkenstock’s typical German-made comfort footbed. Safety shoes should be added for Fall/Winter 2007/08.