Bogner International is banking on the Greater China area for more international growth.
The snow sports and lifestyle brand has entered into a joint venture with Bosideng, a major Chinese apparel group. The alliance will call for the establishment of a digital presence and the opening of about 80 stores over the next five years.
The deal, which has been made between Willy Bogner GmbH & Co.KGaA and Bosideng International Fashion Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bosideng International Holdings Ltd., was revealed Thursday.
Working together, the two companies are striving to bolster sales for not only the Bogner label, but also its Fire + Ice brand that is geared toward younger and more fashion-driven shoppers. Bogner can be found in China in upscale shopping malls like Plaza 66 in Shanghai and SKP in Beijing.
The deal was intentionally finalized in advance of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. But the news comes at a precarious time for how some view China in relation to elite sports. U.S. President Joe Biden has been considering a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Olympics. Bogner is a longtime outfitter of Germany’s Olympians and is expected to do so again in Beijing. The Winter Games are slated to run from Feb. 4 to 20.
In addition, many leading athletes like Serena Williams and sports organizations have rallied around the World Tennis Association for its decision to suspend all tournaments in China due to the treatment of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. Following that announcement Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee claimed to have had a second video chat with the player, who accused a senior Chinese official of sexual assault in a social media post a month ago.
Announcing its plans for expansion in the country, Bogner said it aims to cash in on the fast-growing luxury market in Greater China, where fashion-minded and winter sport athletes and fans are increasing at an above-average rate. Bogner co-chief executive officer Heinz Hackl, who oversees sales, design, marketing and licensing, described the deal with Bosideng as “a milestone in our global growth path and contributes perfectly to our internationalization strategy. Our goal at Bogner is to become an established player in the ‘Athluxury Sports Fashion’ sector in the Greater China area, creating a new dimension to the combination of fashion and sports.”
The joint venture is being headed by William Yang, general manager of Greater China for Bogner. He previously held that title for Amer Sports in China. Tracy Han, a former LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executive, is handling the finance role, and Flora Zhang is Bogner’s marketing director for Greater China.
Bosideng, a down apparel brand, has a 45-year history and is known for its omnichannel strength. The company you chairman and CEO Gao Dekang noted that it has “longstanding connections” through sponsorships in winter sports.
Last month, Bogner revealed plans for expansion in the U.S. and Canada. The Munich-based company teamed with the next-generation retail platform FlagshipRTL to unveil pop-up stores at four key locations. Bogner outposts are set in New York City’s Madison Avenue, Greenwich, Conn.’s Greenwich Avenue, Chicago’s Oakbrook Center and on Toronto’s Bloor Street.