Hi-Tec Sports USA has reported their best year in over 10 years in the U.S. market, with 16.8% growth for the company as a whole, from $39.7 million in 2003 to $46.4 million this year. The company’s outdoor division posted 15.2% sales growth for the year with $25.4 million, and the Magnum division reported an 18.8% increase with $21.0 million.

BOSS spoke with Hi-Tec USA’s CEO Paul Brooks, who said that he feels this accomplishment is even more meaningful since Hi-Tec not only exceeded all of their internal goals for 2004, but the outdoor footwear market has also been flat to declining for the past twelve months.

“This is a great position to be in, especially since it is not exactly a picnic out there,” he said. “I think we have a bigger piece of a slightly smaller market, but that puts us in a great position for when the market rebounds.”

Hi-Tec’s average selling price jumped $15 this year, reflecting the brand’s new positioning and more technical slant to product development. Brooks said that he would like to remain “right in the middle of the kill-zone,” between $75 and $100. He said, “That’s where we work; that’s the territory we own.”

The brand is launching more specialized products at higher price points, and Brooks said that they will continue to push the ceiling higher with more value added product for enthusiasts. The idea here is to improve the brand’s positioning and the consumer’s perception of the brand while giving the company more products to further define their segmented distribution.

On the Magnum side of the business, Brooks said that the growth was spurred by U.S. Postal footwear, work footwear, and work apparel. Magnum is now nearly half of Hi-Tec USA’s business, and the company expects its current growth-rate to continue into the future.

Brooks also said that the year started much like it ended, with double digit sales increases and futures orders up 48%. “I don’t for one second think we will see 50% growth for the year,” said Brooks. “I certainly feel that we will be in the solid double digits-definitely in the strong mid-teens again.”