Solomon may well have been founded in 1947, this is no longer just a brand for old. The French brand is no longer just skis, but equipment for the outdoor and especially for the trail. And she wants to put themselves in the running to reach billion in sales by 2021, so that it that the company will have 861 million euros of revenue in 2017. However, the diversification of Solomon is likely to face in running and sportswear to the giants as Nike and Adidas. Sold in 2005 by Adidas to the Finnish group Amer Sports (who owns the rackets Wilson tennis or skis Atomic), Solomon has achieved a lot of synergies after restructuring is painful in its French factories. Jean-Marc Pambet, director-general of the Solomon explains the ambitious strategy of the group, which has doubled its turnover in 10 years.
Why have you chosen to open this week is a boutique on the Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris?
The idea is not just to do business but to expose Solomon to the consumer. It has 190 stores in the world today, in France, Chambéry and Toulouse for example. But it is true that an opening in Paris is symbolic. It is a showcase interesting to expose them to the public and to the tourists what is Solomon. It is one of the issues to change the perception of the consumer : Solomon, it is not that of the ski.
The opening of our new store has not been carried out against The Old Camper. In our shop, there will be products that they will not and their offers ski will be broader than ours for example.
What is the point of going to a store to buy Solomon so that he can also do that by internet?
It was launched last year a special shoe (Me:sh) made to the feet of a person. This shoe is not made in Asia but to Annecy. It will cost 300 euros and is intended for trail-running. You choose the components in our store. A shoe is normally composed of 50 pieces, sewn or welded together. The shoe Me:sh is composed of 12 parts. Your shoe to your foot is available three weeks later.
Have you managed to diversify in the trail where Salomon dominates the market. Why do you continue to the sportswear and running?
The trail represents 15% today of the size of the market of the running. This is equivalent to 2 billion euros. This market was of interest as a “trail runner” will acquire a value three times more expensive than a rider who does not need shoes, socks, and a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. During a trail, it should be shoes that are more technical compression stockings, shorts, a t-shirt most technical jackets, to hold the night, the headlamp and the backpack. In the end the equipment means that running costs 300 euros when the for the trail weighs 900 euros.
It is important that we not equipped not the athlete only in his practice but with the textile and footwear to accompany him in his life everyday with a commercial offer adequate. Our goal is to reach 1 billion euros in revenue with 400 million euros for the activity of running, as much for hiking and sports, outdoor and 300 million on the winter sports.
Last year our growth was 3%. It was a little more important in the past years. We have doubled our sales in value between 2009 and 2017. It is a european brand very strong. But we still have some development to go in the United States and Canada. And then in Asia, it remains the China-Japan-Korea to improve.
Is it easy to compete on the market of sportswear or of the running of behemoths like Nike or Adidas ?
This is never easy. It is necessary to tell its brand story to consumers and bring solutions products attractive. We can find arguments by understanding what the consumer seeks. It is in the performance and the technical added value. The products must, however, be able to be diverted to be able to dress with.
How do you manage the competition between brands in the same group ?
The fact that Atomic and Salomon overlap in skiing is not a problem because if this was not the case, one intersecting with Rossignol or Head. As much as be both in the same group, we will be stronger. Arc’teryx is a brand of mountain outdoor group. They make hiking shoes that are developed in Annecy because they had no know-how on it. They were started by the classic hiking and today they are doing the trail running. This is not a shoe, Solomon, who is branded Arc’teryx. It uses their design to make the trail. We don’t say that it should not be done because Solomon is already there. Solomon is going to battle on this market versus the Hoka or Brooks while they will be fighting against trademark mountains. Has two, one is stronger.
It was also in Annecy, france, shoes Wilson tennis players that are used at the moment by players at Roland Garros.
You are sponsoring the athletes of trail Kilian Jornet and Francois D’haene. What is their role in the design of products ?
They are on all the tables. Of course they expose the brand Salomon, they contribute to the marketing with their own social networks, but we take them with us in the development of the products. After the competitions, they make us feedback on their practice to help us. Sometimes they are with our design engineers to provide creativity. They are fully part of the development.
Is this not a necessity for Solomon to rejuvenate its brand image?
We have for more than a year, a new positioning called ” time to play “. As a brand, it seeks to animate the lives of consumers and bring products to burst. This is not necessarily always be in the chrono, and the performance, but to bring a sense of pleasure. One can make evolve sports also. 15 years ago, skis double spatula did not exist. There are some brands that have followed that which Solomon, as it was a willingness of young people at the time.
Today, there are shoes that let you swim and run. A sport started in Sweden, a few years ago (Ötillö). They run on the islands and then dive into the water in a course. It requires special shoes. It has created these shoes for the “swim and run” or ” Mud Day “.
To go further: Salomon diversifies pouncing all schuss to the outdoor