A key tactic in The North Face’s strategy to increase market share of Europe’s massive snow sports market emerged last week when Zurich-based Intersport International Corp. GmbH announced it had partnered with the brand to launch its first pan-European marketing campaign for an outdoor product.
In an e-mail to The B.O.S.S. Report, Intersport’s Coordinator/Retail Marketing and License Services Alexandra Leichti confirmed Intersport and TNF are launching a campaign around the TNF Exploration Triclimate 3-in-1 jacket, one of a several garments TNF has designed exclusively for Intersport’s European franchisees. The campaign, dubbed “More Jacket. More Adventure,” will be advertised on billboards and in movie theaters and include joint promotions with Intersport retailers in 14 countries.
Intersport estimates its franchisees generate 16.9 percent of sporting goods retail sales in Europe, or more than twice the share of the next largest retailer. The fact that it would choose a North American brand for such a venture illustrates how fractured Europe’s outdoor apparel market remains. Eleven years after the launch of the euro, none of Europe’s outdoor brands have succeeded in establishing major market positions outside their native countries. The one exception may by Germany’s Jack Wolfskin, which has been pushing aggressively into the United Kingdom and other non-German speaking European markets since being acquired by an American private equity firm in 2011.
While Intersport expects system sales to be flat in 2013 due to weather and economic conditions in Europe, VF Corp. views Europe’s snow sports market as its single largest near-term growth opportunity. Steve Rendle, group president of VF Corp.’s Outdoor & Action Sports America Outdoor & Action Sports, told investors in June that TNF has a great opportunity to leverage its strength in the U.K. to increase penetration of continental Europe, which generates twice as much snow sports sales as the United States.
“We're focusing aggressively today on building our brand in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and really seeding our brand in France, Italy and Russia,” Rendle said at the time.