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Outdoor apparel brand Icebreaker buys out European distributor
Dec '08
The world's leading merino technical outdoor apparel, Icebreaker, announced the acquisition of its distributor in Germany, Sweden and Norway from Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. Maximilian Hofbauer was named General Manager of the new Icebreaker Pure Merino GmbH.

The new company will be based in Starnberg, Germany and will begin selling Icebreaker's new Fall/Winter 2009 apparel and accessories, which will debut at the ISPO tradeshow, 1-4 February 2009 in Munich. Acquisition from Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. was made in return for a multi-year extension of its Icebreaker distributorship in the U.K., Denmark and Finland.

Sales are booming for Icebreaker in Europe, with year-over-year growth of 70 percent. The acquisition in Europe is Icebreaker's second of the year and continues the Wellington-based company's aggressive growth strategy in Europe, which is now responsible for 30 percent of the company's worldwide business. In August 2008 Icebreaker announced the purchase of its France/Switzerland distributor, Rockline Nature Zone, and opened its first Eastern European sales and marketing office in the Czech Republic.

"Icebreaker is growing quickly as a company, and Max Hofbauer with his tremendous talent and background will continue to grow our brand and business in Germany, Sweden and Norway," said Jeremy Moon, Founder and CEO of Icebreaker.

"Our European customers are looking for products that are natural, versatile, durable and ethical," added Moon. "Icebreaker garments, made from pure merino, born in New Zealand's Southern Alps, breathe naturally, don't hold odor the way synthetics do, and are sustainable. For people who want to be closer to nature, it's the ultimate apparel for being outside."

Maximilian Hofbauer spent the past nine years as general manager for The North Face in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. From 1990-1998 he was national and international sales manager for Schoeffel Sportbekleidung in Germany.

"Germany, Sweden and Norway are among the most important outdoor markets in the world - and are set to be one of Icebreaker's biggest opportunities over the next few years," said Hofbauer, who wears Icebreaker garments to run, hike, climb, ski, sail and bike. "Our customers are highly discerning and socially committed, which are two of the reasons for our continued rapid growth."

Icebreaker apparel is now sold in the Europe in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Russia, Poland and Romania.

In October 2008, Icebreaker launched its pioneering traceability program in Europe called "Baacode." The system enables customers to follow their garments through every step of the production process, beginning on the New Zealand South Island sheep stations where the merino is grown and extending throughout its entire supply chain. Icebreaker is one of less than a handful of consumer companies now offering product traceability.


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