Climb High, the U.S. distributor of Mammut, Raichle, Ajungilak and ToKo, will now operate in the U.S. market as the Mammut Sports Group. Climb High was acquired by Mammut over four years ago and the name change in the US market is an attempt to build a consistent identity for Mammut as a global brand.

In Europe, Mammut became known as the Mammut Sports Group in 2003, once acquisitions of the Ajungilak, Raichle, and ToKo brands were complete. The Ajungilak, Mammut, Raichle, and ToKo brands will maintain individual identities on a consumer level, while the Mammut Sports Group brings the four brands to retailers as one cohesive operating unit.

BOSS spoke with Bill Supple, CEO for Mammut Sports Group in the U.S., who said that the change was in name only, and in spite of published reports to the contrary, the Climb High brand name is not being discontinued. “There will still be some Climb High branded accessories available to the market,” he said. Mammut Sports Group U.S. will also continue to distribute HB climbing equipment.

“The benefit to our dealers will be a comprehensive offering under one umbrella”, said Supple in a release. “Buyers can save time and streamline their operations and purchasing decisions by using one dealer for Mammut alpine apparel, Raichle outdoor footwear, Ajungilak sleep systems, and ToKo wax and care products. Internal operations and organization here in Shelburne will remain unchanged, and dealers will experience the same service and offering they have come to expect from us through the years.”

“Our brand identity will be strengthened by this change moving forward, as Mammut will now represent the brand name through its US distributorship,” said Jeff Cunningham, Marketing Director for Mammut Sports Group. “Where some may have been uncertain in distinguishing Climb High from Mammut, this is a great step in further solidifying Mammut’s identity and position here in the U.S.”

Climb High retail stores will retain their name in the Northern Vermont specialty retail market, where they have been operating for nearly thirty years.

Mammut Sports Group closed out the year with 25% growth in the Mammut brand for 2004.

“We had great momentum coming out of the first half and finished the year with a strong showing”, said Supple. “We had aggressive goals for 2004 and managed solid growth in most of our categories-notably harnesses/slings at 87%, apparel at 35% and the Barryvox transceiver at 45%. Our goals for 2005 remain aggressive and so far we‘ve seen positive signs for spring through preorders in the ropes, harnesses and climbing hardware categories”.

“Our new alpine pack line also got off to a solid start for 2005 orders, and the new snow collection will expand our pack offering in the winter season”, added Supple.

The Raichle and Toko brands posted solid gains as well, both in their first complete year under Mammut’s guidance. “We had a great year with Toko”, said Supple. “Coming off our takeover year in the US we exceeded our budget by 13%. As Raichle wasn’t with us until later in the 2003 year, we cannot yet report accurate growth figures, but we are definitely making strides as far as reestablishing the brand in the US market and increasing our dealer base with specialty retailers”.

In related news, the Executive Board of Mammut Sports Group AG has decided to cease production of Toko cross-country ski poles. The company said that this move would allow Toko to “concentrate more fully on the manufacture and distribution of waxing and cleaning products, the core competency of the Toko brand.”

Toko will continue with its line of Cross Country gloves, sportswear and accessories it launched two years ago, and intends to leverage the Mammut brand’s know-how in textiles. In a release the company said, “The termination of pole production will have an impact on general operating costs and internal activities in the short term. The Executive Board is nonetheless confident that this decision will bring about a marked enhancement in Toko’s competitiveness and evolution in the international market.”