Vibram has amicably parted ways with Aicad, the Italian producer of Lizard sandals, by not renewing a contract that had given it the right to distribute its own line of FiveFingers shoes in Europe for the past five years. Aicad will have until the end of this year to clear its inventories of the line.
While expanding its FiveFingers range, adding new colors and new styles, including laced-up models, Vibram has been readying itself for its new direct distribution task. Two years ago it hired Michele Lorusso, an executive who has worked mainly in the fashion industry, who is now acting as sales manager for the FiveFingers division, based in Italy.
The present sales network in Europe should be largely preserved. Sales of FiveFingers shoes doubled in the past year in Europe, and while they are still far from the score reached in the U.S., they are expected to continue to grow strongly, reaching a level of about €20 million in 2012.
FiveFingers shoes continue to be a hot item in the U.S., where they are already distributed by Vibram directly. They have reached an annual level of about $50 million, following a fourfold jump in the past year.