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Bogner Rappels Forward

BERLIN — Bogner’s new flagship in Berlin is casting the German sportswear company in a new light.<br><br>Thanks to a colorful, changeable lighting system, the 10th company-owned and 25th Bogner store worldwide, is one of many colors. Soft...

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BERLIN — Bogner’s new flagship in Berlin is casting the German sportswear company in a new light.

Thanks to a colorful, changeable lighting system, the 10th company-owned and 25th Bogner store worldwide, is one of many colors. Soft lilac, pink, yellow, green, blue and other shades interplay with the store’s subtle yet lively Bogner merchandise and modern interior. Near the entrance, a display wall with compartments showcasing Bogner perfumes and two similar walls housing accessories, change colors every 10 minutes.

The shop has displays and fixtures made of Canadian maple, birch, split slate, steel, glass and dark brown leather, offset by 50-foot, floor-to-ceiling projections of photos and films. There are also movable plasma screens in the store windows that feature selected films or images. Controlled from Bogner’s Munich headquarters, the new technology allows the firm to simultaneously send the same multimedia components to all of its stores.

The 4,000-square-foot Berlin unit houses Bogner Sport, Bogner Woman, Bogner Man, Sônia Bogner, Bogner Kids and the snowboard-inspired Bogner Fire + Ice, as well as more than 12 licenses, including jeans, perfumes, eyewear, gloves, shoes and bags. The company would not discuss sales projections, but industry observers said the store could ring up about $2.5 million in first-year sales.

At present, images of chief executive officer Willy Bogner unveiling the Brandenburg Gate last week are being shown.

Bogner said, “We wanted our own space for a long time, but couldn’t find the right location, plus rents have come down considerably. The new store lets us present Bogner in a much more modern way, for the collection is much more modern than people think.”

Bogner’s European business is split evenly between active-inspired looks and sportswear, but in the U.S., 90 percent of Bogner’s sales are in activewear. Bogner said the company’s biggest potential lies in the American market, as it closes the gap between athletic and dressier looks. Wilkes Bashford in San Francisco, the brand’s fourth-largest worldwide account, focuses on the Sônia Bogner collection, the most sophisticated part of the women’s wear range, he said.

Bogner operates 10 company-owned stores, 15 franchise stores and 25 concept shops worldwide. In the next year, the store count will increase to 30, with five locations opening in China and Japan. Bogner sells its in-house collections to 1,600 retailers, with sales of licensed products increasing the store count to 6,000. This year’s sales will not register growth, due to the worldwide economic malaise, especially in Germany, where retail sales have decreased annually for the past decade.

“When we reach last year’s figures, it will be a good performance,” Bogner said.

In 2001, Bogner generated $137.6 million in total sales, with licensed products accounting for $39.3 million. All dollar figures are translated from the euro at current exchange rates.

Bogner celebrates its 70th anniversary this month and just completed a 250-page book documenting its history. The $392 book will be offered with 300 different fabric covers. It will be sold in bookstores and at Bogner stores for the holidays. There will also be a DVD telling the Bogner story.

The firm will celebrate its longevity with a big bash in Munich on Oct. 23, with an expected 2,000 guests. Designed to play up the brand’s lifestyle, the event will showcase fashion, music, cars and films on a 200-foot runway, complete with a ski slope made of real snow.

Lufthansa, Audi and Siemens are sponsors. Siemens, Bogner’s latest licensee, is introducing the “Bogner Crystal Edition” cell phone with an ice blue cover with snowflakes on the back, red keyboard and red light display, later this month.

Bogner is also interested in getting into the customized travel business.

“I’ve always believed in high-end sports experiences and can imagine doing Bogner Champion Tours where small groups of people travel with champions,” he said. “Think of going to Aspen, staying in the best place and having a champion, not just a ski instructor, with you. Athletes’ careers end much too soon, when they’re still world class. Obviously, with our contacts we know these people, and it’s something one could arrange for every sport.”

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