Heelys is making quick progress on the French market. Its footwear, distinguished by the wheels integrated into the soles, was sold in the country through a distributor starting in 2003, but the American company decided to take control of the business in France by establishing a subsidiary for the country run by an industry veteran, Serge Darcy. On May 1, 2008, Heelys France started its activity and it is already announcing some satisfactory results.
Heelys estimates that by the end of the year about 100,000 pairs will be sold in France to reach a turnover of €4 million. This is a big boost for the company as last year the distributor reached sales of just about €1 million. Heelys seems confident from these results and it has already set its objectives for next year. For 2009 it targets sales of 150,000 pairs and a turnover of €6 million.
The company will also expand its presence on the market. Heelys’ products are currently sold in about 800 points of sale, while in 2009 that will go up to 1,200. However, in general the subsidiary is not planning to add new names to the list of retail partners. It will just ensure that its product will be available to customers in many more stores belonging to the same groups, which currently make up about 80 percent of the sales in the country.
Heelys relates the significantly stronger performance in 2008 to the marketing strategies applied by the subsidiary. The company points out that its former distributor didn’t participate in any marketing activities at all. Heelys has invested mainly in TV advertisements. Its products were advertised on two major state channels and many other channels seen mainly by children and young people. Heelys says that the outcomes of this campaign were much better than expected.