On Jan. 27 Flip*Flops opened its first company-owned, single-brand concept store in Berlin, and will consider opening more of its kind if the project proves successful. The only other company-owned door that Flip*Flops has in operation is a factory outlet in the southwest of Germany. It also has two franchised doors – one in Cyprus and another in South Korea, and it is getting a lot of interest for openings at other locations including the coast of Florida.
The new retail program follows the extension of the categories covered by this brand from thong sandals to a variety of other products, mainly related to the beach, including leather bags, towels and a variety of other accessories. A more complete line of products under the brand name was displayed at the GDS fair last month. High-priced patent and nubuck leather boots for women were part of the line.
Bernd Hummel, who is the biggest licensee of KangaROOS, bought the rights to the Flip*Flops name for the German-speaking countries and for France in 2003 from a young German entrepreneur who developed a very colorful line of thong sandals under this protected brand name. The rights presently cover only the German-speaking countries and France, but Hummel has been trying to extend its name to other countries.
A few hundreds of accounts, mostly shoe shops, are currently selling items from the Flip Flops line. They are mostly located in Germany, but the company also has customers in the UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. Hummel, who has a daughter working on the merchandising project, an architext by trhe name of Anne-Katrin Hummel, hopes that more and more retailers will set up dedicated store corners featuring more items under the brand.
Flip Flops footwear is mostly produced in Turkey and in the Far East. The company also sources certain uppers from Italy and Spain. Hummel continues to do very well with his KangaROOS license. He recently extended his territory for that brand, which belongs to Pentland Group, to the Benelux countries and France by taking over the license from Leomil.