British sport brand Umbro broadens lifestyle range, boosts presence in France
Umbro, a historic British sport apparel and equipment brand, now owned by US-based Iconix Brand Group, set foot again in France four years ago, distributed by the Royer group. To begin with, the French distributor concentrated on establishing Umbro's presence in its natural environment, sport.
“Before thinking about lifestyle products, we bolstered the foundations, starting at the grass-roots level with amateur football clubs. [Umbro’s] DNA is based on football, and we needed to be grounded there,” said Guillaume Reux, marketing director for Umbro in France.
Through the efforts of the Royer group, the Manchester-based label gradually broadened its footprint on the French market, outfitting top-flight French football clubs and being distributed by about 500 multibrand retailers.
Umbro’s assets are its history - it was founded in 1924 - and the current '90s revival, enabling it to relaunch signature models like the ‘anthem jacket’, and paving the way for a more lifestyle-inspired line. Umbro now works with two logos, one for sport apparel and equipment and another for the lifestyle range, heavily inspired by its 1990s models.
Umbro’s competitors have a head start on the market, and the brand opted for an aggressive price positioning, selling t-shirts for €25-30 and sweatshirts for €60. “We are a popular brand, and we don’t want to go for very high price points, it would be illogical,” said Reux.
To generate more interest, Umbro has been very active on the collaboration front in France, teaming up with street/sportswear label Avnier and sport-inspired brand Eleven Paris, with which it launched a capsule collection.
With two to three collaborations each season, and the recent launch of the Bumpy sneaker and the Heritage collection, featuring prominent lettering and a pink, black and white palette, Umbro is very active on the market, and it will not slow down in 2019. It will introduce a lifestyle collection for Spring/Summer 2019, and further broaden its range, as it is working on its first women’s only collection.
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