Gabor Footwear has lost its 18-year-old license to develop and market shoes under the Camel Active brand, whose sales have been declining lately. This has led to the departure of key managers, including Ralph Hanus, the former chief executive of Sabu. The big German shoe producer will sell the last collection for the 2020 spring/summer season.
Another German company specialized in footwear licenses, Hamm Market Solutions (HMS), will hold the license from the autumn/winter 2020/21 season for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. HMS already develops and distributes the Gant and Scotch & Soda brands of shoes, while overseeing the design and production of Marc O'Polo shoes. In addition, it has its own new footwear label, Mahony Shoes. A year ago, the company lost the footwear license for Napapijri.
The transfer takes place in the context of the transition of the master license for Camel Active products from from Seidensticker to another German fashion group, Bültel Worldwide Fashion, which already has a sub-license to sell jackets and trousers under the Camel Active brand. Gabor will offer alternative jobs for the 20-odd employees at its head office in Rosenheim who will be affected by the loss of the license.
Last year, Gabor recorded a turnover of €34 million with the sale of the Camel Active shoes, nearly 10 percent less than in the previous year's collection, although its casual footwear styles remained rather original. It's not sure that it was a profitable operation, considering also the royalties owed to the master licensee.
Aside from the international sneaker boom, which was not followed by Camel Active, the brand has obviously suffered from a ban on the advertising on cigarettes and other tobacco products that started in Germany and other European countries around 2007. Camel is an American brand of cigarettes owned by R.J. Reynolds.
The Camel Active collection represented less than 10 percent of Gabor Footwear sales. The total revenues of Gabor, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, were relatively stable at €377 million in 2018.