The large Hamm-Reno group has acquired the Mercedes brand name of footwear from a German shoe company, Manz-Fortuna, which had launched it in 1909, charging prices of up to €200 a pair for special constructions. The brand name is not licensed from the well-known car company, but the sameness of the name will not hurt. The Reno chain will use the brand as part of its trading-up strategy for a classical men’s shoe line that may also be offered to other retailers.

Reno already has two house brands – Bama for children’s and men’s casual shoes and Young Spirit for young fashion – and they are performing well. It is now looking for a dressy women’s brand. Reno has been following in a way the strategy recently adopted by Deichmann, which bought the Elefanten and Gallus brands of children’s and men’s shoes.

Meanwhile, the Reno is launching a franchising program for the German market to help accelerate its development in its home market, where it wants to double the number of outlets under its banner, adding about 500 more stores. While continuing to open directly operated stores in Germany, it will try to convince independent retailers to franchise the well-tested Reno format, particularly in the small and medium-sized cities. They will measure about 300 square meters each.

Reno has hired an experienced professional, Fritz Frömmling, to steer its franchising program, starting with at least 5 shops later this year. He previously handled a similar task at IHR, a German chain of drugstores. Reno has been using franchises as a tool to expand in many foreign countries. A partner in Iran opened a franchised Reno shop early last year and is now adding two more of them. Reno franchises are being introduced also in Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and possibly Greece.