Lumberjack, the Italian brand of casual footwear, is diversifying into the sports and outdoor sectors and moving into new foreign markets while coming under new management. Erkan Emre, who has worked for 17 years for the Turkish group that took over Lumberjack in 2012, has been appointed as its chief executive, replacing Andrea Vecchiato.

Emre was most recently in charge of the European market for Lumberjack, reporting directly to the Turkish company, which changed its name from Ziylan to FLO four years ago. Vecchiato, a former manager of Geox who started to run Lumberjack in 2014, left the company a few weeks ago. Vecchiato has become the chief executive of Gianni Chiarini, an Italian brand of accessories controlled by 21 Investimenti, the equity investment company led by Alessandro Benetton.

Lumberjack successfully introduced a new higher-priced collection of casual shoes, called UN.Code, an abbreviation of Urban Nature Code, early this year. It has come to represent 15 percent of its total sales for the current autumn/winter season. Lumberjack's new line of high-end sports-inspired shoes is going to hit the stores for the spring/summer 2019 season. It will be followed by line of outdoor shoes under the Lumberjack brand name that will be launched for the autumn/winter 2019/20 season at the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence next month.

Both lines are currently being offered mainly to shoe shops. In 2019, Lumberjack will also target sporting goods and outdoor specialist retailers.

Currently, about 80 percent of Lumberjack's turnover is generated in Italy, but the brand is expanding its reach internationally following the appointment of another former Geox manager, Marco Serpelloni, as export manager in 2017. He has also worked for Stonefly, The Flexx and other brands in the past.

Lumberjack is exploring new opportunities in Russia and North Africa at the moment.  So far this year it has opened about 20 store corners in China and Hong Kong, a second mono-brand store in Dubai and the first one in Mongolia, contributing to a rise in its sales abroad of nearly 20 percent.

As reported in our last issue, Lumberjack's parent company, FLO, has agreed to divest its 19.59 percent stake in the Hamm-Reno Group in connection with that latter's strategic partnership with CCC from Poland.

According to a recent presentation, FLO's core business consists of 385 shoe stores in Turkey with a total sales area of 308,000 square meters, with more than 5,000 SKUs and about 170 million visitors each year. Adding other banners it has a total of 485 stores in the country, making it the largest player in the sector in its home market. It is developing its omni-channel capabilities strongly.

The group also has a strong wholesale network, selling eight million pairs annually to 2,000 points of sale in Turkey. At the end of 2017, it also had 70 stores in 10 other countries, with a goal of expanding the foreign network to 216 stores in 31 countries by 2021.