Lloyd Shoes signed an exclusive distribution contract for ten years with Kingwood in China two weeks ago. Kingwood, which is also the exclusive Chinese distributor for Gabor, Sioux and Zilli, a French luxury brand, will also be taking care of sales in Hong Kong and Macau for the German shoe brand.
Kingwood has been distributing Gabor for 10 years in China, opening more than 300 mono-brand stores. The plan for Lloyd in China will be to open mono-brand stores as well as shop-in-shops in department stores. By the end of this year, Lloyd expects to have 3-4 shop-in-shops and 1-2 mono-brand stores in China.
Lloyd previously held a distribution contract with a Hong Kong-based company, Fairton, which ran out at the end of the last year. As Fairton mainly concentrated its sales activities in Hong Kong, Lloyd decided to sign up a new distributor with a strong base in Mainland China. The Chinese market currently accounts for one percent of Lloyd's total sales.
Lloyd suffered a sales decrease of between 3 and 5 percent in 2015, according to preliminary figures. In 2014, the company had reported a consolidated turnover of €139 million. The recent sales decline was mostly due to weak sales in Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia and adverse foreign exchange currency rates in Switzerland and Russia.
The German shoe manufacturer had to record a one-digit decline in its domestic market last year. Its sales outside Germany grew by 15 percent, due to a positive development in France, Belgium and Scandinavia. Exports account for 25 percent of Lloyds' total sales.
The strategy for this year is to strengthen the company's position in export markets, with a focus on France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Russia and China. In France, Lloyd will hire 1-2 new agents in 2016, adding up to a total of 4-5 agents for the French market by the end of this year.
The German shoe manufacturer recently hired three national sales agents in three other countries: Maarten Westerkamp for the Netherlands and the Sanolo agency owned by Pierpaolo Piovesan for Italy as well as David Smith for the U.K.
Lloyd also hired a country manager for the U.S. market at the beginning of this year, Sjoerd Stoffelsma. Based in the state of New York, he has been tasked to develop a bigger market penetration for the brand in the country. Lloyd has already been selling its shoes on Nordstrom's e-commerce retailer website for the past three seasons.
Ara Shoes, parent company of Lloyd, already has a subsidiary in the U.S. Lloyd will be able to use it in the future for storage, logistics, financial support, supply chain management and back-office support.
Lloyd has its own production facilities in Germany, Romania and India, where 95 percent of its shoe collections are made.