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Big growth for Superga
Shoe Intelligence 17/06/2011 pagina 11 


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This iconic Italian brand of casual shoes is in line to raise its sales by about 21 percent to the equivalent of around $75 million this year – directly and through its licensees – as it gets ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary. This big spurt can be partly attributed to the efforts made by BasicNet, the Italian company that took over the brand in 2007, to reposition Superga in a higher segment of the market, notably by using better materials and by striking co-branding agreements with well-known fashion brands and designers such as Max Mara, Fiorucci and Brooks Brothers. The brand’s international development is also being aided by a new advertising campaign, launched last March, featuring Alexa Chung, the British MTV presenter, as its testimonial. Superga canvas shoes are a little bit more expensive than those of Converse, which tend to use less rubber. Superga canvas shoes are in fact made largely of rubber and cotton, whose prices have skyrocketed and are more expensive in any case compared with synthetic spare parts.In the past year, Superga’s revenues rose by 9 percent, thanks in part to a 20 percent increase in the sales of its licensees, including new partners in Turkey, Israel and South Korea. Currently, the brand has a presence in more than 70 countries. As reported, Superga recently signed a major licensing deal for the U.S. with Steve Madden, replacing R.G. Barry. It still has to find suitable partners in big markets such as Russia, India and China.Superga shoes are sold in more than 210 mono-brand stores around the world. They are mostly franchised. One-third of them are located in Italy. Others are in Brazil, Korea, the Philippines, South Africa and other countries. A new Superga store should open in central London later this year.The brand’s 2750 model of vulcanized canvas shoes from the 1960s remains very popular. Worn by aspirational adults as well as nostalgic older people and children, it comes in more than 100 different variations, including styles that use wool, leather or Swarovski crystals. However, new styles are introduced every two to three months to freshen up the collection and stimulate demand.Named after a hill near Turin, Superga was founded on Oct. 3, 1911, by a tire manufacturer in the Italian city, Walter Martiny, as a factory to vulcanize rubber. The first shoes came out 14 years later. The first specific models for tennis, basketball and sailing came out in the 1930s. The production increased steadily and reached a peak of 12 million pairs in 1975, before Converse, Reebok, Nike and other American brands of sports shoes began to enter the world market.Controlled for a while by Pirelli, the Italian tire company, Superga has gone through several changes of ownership in the course of its history. BasicNet, owner of Kappa and other brands, took over the license for Superga in 2005 and acquired the brand two years later.



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