Saucony fÃtes 125th anniversary in Paris, will open second Italian office in Milan

Saucony fêtes 125th anniversary in Paris, will open second Italian office in Milan

Translated by

Nicola Mira

For the third season in a row, US trainers brand SauconyWolverineParis Fashion Week

Robert Griffiths, brand president of Saucony, at the House of Originals in Paris – Saucony

“We have a long history of innovation, not only in terms of products but also in terms of people and our community. We want to preserve and continue to grow our technical know-how, but we’re also learning a lot about the fashion aspect of the business,” said Griffiths. “The USA continue to be a key market, as is China, where we have a joint venture. The same applies to the EMEA region, where our most strategic markets are the UK, France and Italy, a country where the Originals range is predominant. Each market has its specificities in terms of distribution, so while we are consistent in our message, we always adapt it to each individual country,” he added.
Saucony distributes its products exclusively through the wholesale channel, but it also operates e-shops in various regions. “E-tail is very important for us because it enables us to be directly in touch with our customers. [E-tail] is more mature in the USA, while in Europe there is still work to do. In this case too, each market has its own dynamics,” said Griffiths. “As for direct retail, it’s part of our strategy for the next five years. We’re learning from another Wolverine brand, Sweaty Betty

Sustainability-wise, Saucony is “getting there,” Griffiths said. “It’s a crucial topic for us, we’ve started a journey, for example by adopting sustainable materials to manufacture some of our models, like materials derived from mushrooms, pineapple or marine plastic waste. Beyond products, we’re switching our company’s vehicle fleet to electric, and we’re working with logistics centres that don’t use plastics in packaging,” he added. 

The new Grid Shadow 2 by Saucony Originals – Saucony

Focusing on Italy, where Saucony has been operating an office in Montebelluna for four years, following the Wolverine group’s acquisition of the brand’s Italian distributor, Andrea Rogg said that: “In [Italy] we are distributed in the high-quality sneakers segment, at about 1,400 doors throughout the country. Our retail network is well-established and varied, and recently it has diversified product-wise, thanks to our capsule collections and collaborations. Fashion and footwear stores are the backbone of our distribution, to which we’ve added various independent sneaker specialists in recent years, enabling us to reach a younger audience. Strategically, we want to keep our volumes stable in the wholesale channel’s mid-market segment, while also growing in the premium segment, through product segmentation.”
Rogg stepped up to a global role after overseeing Saucony’s Italian subsidiary for two years. He didn’t rule out a future Saucony Originals presence at Milan Fashion Week
“In four years, the Wolverine group has invested about $100 million in Italy. In this period, we have doubled our employees, centralised European logistics operations in [Italy] and, two years ago, the Italian team was given the task of managing the brand’s lifestyle division worldwide,” said Rogg. “It was time for us to have offices in Milan. We’re taking over a 700-square-metre space in via Morimondo, which will be home to our front-office departments, marketing, product development and sales, while the back office will remain in Montebelluna,” he added.

The model made in collaboration with Colour Plus Companie – Saucony

As for results, in 2022 Saucony recorded a 12% growth in Italy, after growing 20% the previous year. “This year, we’re expecting a more modest increase, around 5%, because various supply chain issues have prevented us from responding to order growth in the high double-digits,” said Rogg.
Saucony’s worldwide revenue increased by 50% between 2019 and 2022. The company is forecasting a 15% rise in 2023, with strong growth in China, e-tail revenue doubling in the USA, and a good performance in France and the UK. By the end of 2023, US sales (wholesale and e-tail combined) are expected to account for 17% of total revenue, and EMEA sales for a 65% share, 40% of which generated in Italy – the top country in the region.
To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Saucony presented in Paris, as part of the Fall/Winter 2023-24 Originals collection, a reinterpretation of the iconic Grid Shadow 2 trainer from the 90s, in the new OG version featuring the original colourways and details with a more contemporary aesthetic. Saucony also presented the second collaboration with US apparel brand Colour Plus Companie and its founder Jordan

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