Implus Footcare, a major American supplier of footwear accessories, has acquired its European master distributor, Eurosphere/Anticipation. The move is intended to expand the group's presence in European outdoor and sporting goods stores, similar to its situation in the U.S. and the U.K., which represent more than 85 percent of its annual sales of almost $140 million.

Eurosphere is a French-based company that has been selling Sneaker Balls and other deodorizing products throughout the European Union. Implus recently bought Sneaker Balls, a brand of sports air fresheners, and thus decided to sign a European distribution contract with Eurosphere for all its products one year ago. However, despite some progress on the Continental European market, Implus realized that it needed to use a direct distribution model to deal with some of the larger retailers in the outdoor and sporting goods markets.

Eurosphere will be renamed Implus EU. It will be run by Frédéric Cardaliaguet as vice president of the European operation. The French executive previously served as a vice president in a division of LVMH, the French luxury goods group.

In addition to Sneaker Balls, four years ago Implus purchased Yaktrak, a unique line of winter traction footwear that showcased an interesting new XTR line of easily removable ice grips with a new patent-pending spike design at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City last month. Last December and January, Implus also purchased Little Hotties, a provider of hand, body and foot warmers, and Highgear, a supplier of performance watches, navigational tools and accessories for outdoor enthusiasts.

Implus is best known for its Sof Sole footwear accessories and its Airplus and Sof Comfort insoles. Since 2008 it has also been the U.S. distributor of Granger's, the British supplier of cleaning and waterproofing treatments for outdoor products, which is also its distributor in the U.K. outdoor market. Furthermore, Implus licenses the New Balance trade name for a line of sports performance monitors.