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Icebreaker expands Running presence
Jan '10
Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, is expanding its presence into the running category with the introduction of its new GT Base Layer product at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market January 21-24, 2010 and at the ISPO trade fair February 7-10 in Munich.

In the United States, Icebreaker is now sold in 35 leading running stores and is on track to triple this penetration over the next 12 months, reports Deb Boswell, director of marketing for North America. Boswell said Icebreaker's top running accounts are experiencing more than 100% growth in sell through from FW08 to FW09.

“Our leading running retailers have identified that Icebreaker is the new story they need in apparel – not only is Icebreaker made from natural pure merino, our Baacode traceability program offers socially-committed runners with a unique and way of understanding our commitment to sustainability,” said Boswell. “Icebreaker is continuing to broaden its Run product range based on consumer insights and growing demand.”

At the winter outdoor tradeshows, Icebreaker will debut its new GT Base Layer range, which offers a natural alternative technical base layer – designed for high aerobic sports including running and a technically minded consumer. Icebreaker GT Base Layer comes in a variety of weights: ultralite, lightweight, midweight and expedition weight.

Icebreaker_GT styles feature cutting-edge fabric design technology to increase comfort, fit and performance. Special features include flatlock seams to reduce chafing, eyelet fabric for ventilation, and reflective graphics.

Icebreaker has participated in running expos at the New York City and Chicago marathons and San Francisco's “Bay to Breakers.” In October, Icebreaker ran a promotion at Paragon Sports' New York City flagship stores, offering to turn customers' synthetic (plastic) shirts into shoe bags for free, and giving them a 26.2% (the length of a marathon) discount on an Icebreaker purchase and a free pair of socks. The promotion was a resounding success, increasing brand buzz and resulting in a 60% increase on Icebreaker sales year on year.

Dave Zimmer at Fleet Feet Chicago confirms that runners are looking for more environmentally friendly options like Icebreaker natural and sustainable merino. “Runners look at the outdoors as our own natural playground. Anything we have the ability to do to help sustain that is top of mind.”

In an interview with NBC News in Chicago he said, “Polyesters have a tendency to hold onto bacteria and odor; wools don't. So you can run in that, go out to dinner in that, go on the plane while not offending the people you're sitting next to.


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