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Technology Takes Off On the Trail

NEW YORK — Leave it to a winter-oriented brands to come up with a few ploys to get more consumers ready for the great outdoors.<br><br>Burton expects its use of Gore’s Airvantage insulation system to make some noise. With a few quick puffs...

NEW YORK — Leave it to a winter-oriented brands to come up with a few ploys to get more consumers ready for the great outdoors.

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Burton expects its use of Gore’s Airvantage insulation system to make some noise. With a few quick puffs into a mouthpiece on the interior of the jacket, wearers can inflate the lightweight jackets, changing them into parkas for cooler temperatures. The item retails for $549.

At the other end of the spectrum, Burton has lowered its opening retail price point to $119 by using more affordable fabrics and less accessories, said John Colonna, outerwear category manager. On those sharper-priced items, Burton is using rubber zipper pulls instead of metal ones.

Burton, along with some of its competitors, is counting on growth due to the continued interest in snowboarding.

“A major trend is the movement of snowboarding into the mainstream market,” Colonna said. “The exposure of this year’s Winter Olympics has exposed snowboarding to a broader audience who has became more interested and more supportive of snowboarding.”

Sun Ice, a Canadian label known for its skiwear, has reduced its offerings to help consumers and stores get a better grasp on the brand’s identity, said Chuck Copley, president. Prices are also slightly lower than last fall to give shoppers a better value.

Costs were cut by having the American unit produce in Canada instead of China and Korea. Just don’t expect to see the label in every department store, since the brand’s strategy involves selective distribution. The payoff should be a 3 to 4 percent increase in dollar sales and unit sales this fall versus last fall.

“By streamlining the line, we’re telling customers who we are,” Copley said. “We’re about technical, performance and value.”

In its 70th year, Bogner is on the move to play up its heritage while trying to stay on top of the trends. But Willy Bogner, president and chief executive officer, isn’t oblivious to the challenging mood at retail.

“The depressing mood of customers is the most negative element,” Bogner said. “We are concentrating on looking to the upside and the strength of our brand.”

For its anniversary, Bogner is creating a special “B 70” edition of products highlighting the brand’s tradition of skiwear and constant innovation. There are also plans to produce a book on the subject.