At last week's GDS trade show in Düsseldorf, Birkenstock presented its first complete collection of closed shoes, using its strong brand name to go in some ways in the same direction of Havaianas, Alpargatas' brand of sandals, and Teva, the brand of sports sandals owned by Deckers Corporation. The collection consists of two different unisex models in three colors each. Birkenstock launched parts of its first closed shoe collection last September, but this is the first full season selling and presenting the new shoe models.
The models are priced up to €110 for end consumers. As the models have already appealed to customers, Birkenstock plans to develop the new product range further in 2012. The new closed shoe collection is based on traditional Birkenstock sandals, which are being altered to a closed shoe with an additional part. The new collection will be introduced on a global level and be sold in the Birkenstock mono-brand stores.
The German manufacturer for comfort shoes recorded a successful business year in 2011, although the last summer season was not that satisfying. Birkenstock increased its sales in 2011 by about 8-9 percent in terms of value. The company saw the same development of sales in the U.S. The whole European market remained the strongest market for the company in 2011.
As reported last year, Birkenstock recently expanded the distribution of its product line to the outdoor and running specialty retail channels in the U.S. The same now goes for Germany, where Birkenstock uses promotional methods during marathons and other sporting events, in order to create brand awareness in the sporting segment. Birkenstock exhibited during the marathons in Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne in 2011 and at Ispo 2012 in Munich, and is currently developing information material.
With regard to new stores, Birkenstock recently opened its third mono-brand store in Cancun, in the south of Mexico. In Brazil, Birkenstock is currently distributing its products directly from Germany, but this is set to change in the near future, as the company is in discussions with a distributor for the Brazilian market.
The company plans to expand not only to the Brazilian market, but also to India and Russia. In Russia, Birkenstock will be exhibiting at the trade shows Mos Shoes and Euro Shoes in 2012. Products are currently distributed directly to independent retailers in Russia. With India in mind, Birkenstock is currently in negotiation with interested local distributors and will come to a decision in the near future.