Interview with Mr Mark Bezner

Face2Face
Mr Mark Bezner
Mr Mark Bezner
Owner and CEO
OLYMP Bezner GmbH & Co. KG
OLYMP Bezner GmbH & Co. KG

What trends have you noticed amongst consumer/customer behaviors in milieu of present global economic challenges?

Naturally enough, people’s consumer behaviour has also changed fundamentally over the last fifty years. Thus, in many cases, clothing today is not primarily a vital commodity, but rather tends to be a substitute good. Especially in our domestic market of Germany, the clothing sector has been in recession since the start of the 1990s, the market is saturated, and consumption is tremendously depressed. To make matters worse, the price sensitivity of buyers has increased. As a result, tough and uncompromising predatory competition prevails. Fortunately, there are men today who place greater value on their appearance than in the past, who live a more demanding life and so dress in a more fashion and quality-conscious way – and do so into old age. By deliberately appealing to this clientele, OLYMP has been able to sustain its position despite the otherwise adverse market conditions.

What is current global market size of ready to wear garments for men? What future potent do you foresee in this arena?

In many export markets we are still in the early stages of market penetration. To date, OLYMP has yet to be represented in many countries of the world. And even in the major German market, the potential is by no means exhausted. Which is why we are convinced that the global demand for the type of high-quality men’s outerwear that OLYMP provides offers virtually unlimited possibilities.

Your company has presence in more than 40 countries. Apart from these clienteles, which all countries would you mark as emerging markets for your line of business?

The opportunities for OLYMP are to be found in international expansion, which we are consistently pursuing mainly in Europe. Besides the key export countries such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, Eastern European states like Croatia, Poland, Rumania and Russia and the Arabic countries of the Middle East are also offering excellent growth and sales rates. In addition, the brand-conscious Chinese market, which OLYMP has been cultivating since the end of 2005 with much success, also carries enormous potential in the still booming commercial centres of its eastern coast.

Cruel recession has been spreading its claws clutching profits of all sectors in the industry. How then Olymp was able to post uptrends in its recent fiscal year? What makes Olymp so popular brand?

The success of the OLYMP brand is based, in my estimation, on the aspects cited under Question 1, together with entrepreneurial discipline, professional competence, and continuity of product. The OLYMP brand has attained a strong market position by these means in recent years. The company, moreover, has always been run in a solid manner and sensibly managed within its capabilities from the outset. As an owner-managed family concern, OLYMP is also able to plan for the long term, totally unconstrained by financial investors, and can thereby ensure that any future market activity will remain successful. What is more, we will continue to do our utmost to keep improving our performance in every area, so that we can provide our trade partners with the security of being able to rely, at any time, on the correct shirt supplier and business partner.

Any plans on venturing into womens wear or kids wear sector too?

Concentrating on our core competences is, no doubt, a further guarantee for the success of the OLYMP brand. And we will carry on with this strategy. Focussing on it puts us in the position of being able to develop and produce our narrow, but very deep, product portfolio of business and casual shirts, ties and polos with a high degree of precision and so set ourselves apart from the competition. Sensible additions to the product range are still possible on a regular basis, though, as the latest product “OLYMP Level Five – body fit” shows. In the casual and leisurewear segment, you can expect to see informal long-sleeve polo shirts, sweatshirts and zipper jackets, each colour-coordinated to the particular shirt range, in the autumn/winter collection of 2009, which will enrich our product programme. Hence, women’s or children’s clothes will not be an option for us in the near future.

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Published on: 06/04/2009

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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