PARIS — Rossignol is gaining momentum in its race to become a lifestyle brand. The ski specialist, owned by Quiksilver, is going off-trail with new styles to wear on and off the slopes, starting for summer. The company also hinted it might slalom into own-store distribution by 2010.
“We are coming down from the mountains,” said Bernard Mariette, Quiksilver’s president, at a press conference last month here, where he mapped out Rossignol’s aggressive plans to reorganize and consolidate its activities, with an emphasis on growing its apparel division.
“Rossignol’s textile sales accounted for 35 million euros [$46.5 million] in 2005, and we expect that figure to reach 120 million euros [$159.4 million] over the next four years,” said Stephane Weinhold, managing director of the firm’s textile division, which includes outdoor, outerwear and lifestyle lines for women and men.
Quiksilver, which purchased Rossignol a year ago, said the brand’s textiles generate 15 percent of its sales. The ambition is to grow that figure to 50 percent. Rossignol already claims first place in the women’s hardware alpine ski category, with 42 percent of total global market share.
To reach the goal, Mariette said, “We want the brand to communicate emotion and ambition.”
Rossignol is making its first foray into the lifestyle category with a summer collection including apparel and accessories for women and men. To celebrate its 100-year anniversary, the group announced a Rossignol heritage collection, which will be unveiled at the ISPO trade fair in Munich in February. It is an ubercool sportswear lifestyle line for women and men using Rossignol’s tricolor rooster as the collection’s mascot.
“Mountain brands have a bit of a staid image, but Rossignol has caught on that it is important to follow the fashion trends with better cuts for women and more color,” said Doriane Vidale, Olympic freestyle snowboarder, referring to Rossignol’s collaboration with designers Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Emilio Pucci. “Rossignol’s new collections are just as fashionable as the collaboration lines, but are for a cooler and younger clientele.”
While widening its textile offering, Rossignol plans to extend its door count in France from the current 250 or so, located primarily in resorts or neighboring cities, to 500, some of them in major cities.
“In the long term, we are looking at our own distribution channels,” said Mariette, noting the group, which accounts for 14 percent of Quiksilver’s total sales, plans on expanding its retail strategy, “especially in the U.S.”
However, according to Mariette, such channels will not be developed until 2010.
At the press conference, Mariette revealed plans for a sprawling, 145,400-square-foot Rossignol global headquarters in Saint Jean de Moirans, France, at the foot of the Alps. Work on the site will begin this year, and the structure is due to be opened in 2008.