OUTDOOR clothing company Berghaus expects to achieve a 17% jump in worldwide sales after setting up businesses in Norway and Germany, as well as benefiting from wintry weather in the North East.
The Sunderland-based firm has set up Berghaus Nordic AS after its parent company, the Pentland Group, formed a partnership with Norway-based conglomerate Bertel O. Steen.
The tie-up will see Bertel handle sales into countries including Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, while Berghaus will retain its product development and marketing operations for the Nordic region at its Sunderland base.
Berghaus now hopes to grow its sales in the Nordic region from just 1% of its total turnover to around 10% over the next five years, with the help of its changeable climate and rugged terrain.
It is also confident that it will also see a 17% jump in consolidated global wholesale sales by the end of year, which includes sales through its international partners and distributors.
The firm is also looking to increase its share of the market in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the launch of Berghaus Germany, which will see it open offices in Germany next year, which it said would later become its central European headquarters.
The company also expects its statutory account turnover, which excludes sales through foreign distributors, to be up on the £50.8m recorded last year, with the onset of an early winter in the North East helping to boost domestic sales.
The heavy snowfall has had an immediate impact on the sale of its range of performance coats, hats and gloves, with orders through its UK website up 55% in the last week.
Berghaus brand president Richard Cotter said: “The Nordic region is a very important territory in the European outdoor sector.
“Although Berghaus has been present there for many years, this development is extremely significant and delivers a strong partnership for us with Bertel O. Steen, an organisation that has great credibility and established relationships in the market.
“As well as strengthening our position in and around Germany we are also seeing strong sales in the UK, with the onset of the snow in the North East has seen sales through our website go through the roof, and, with snow forecast for most of December, I expect this to continue.”
Berghaus’ latest expansion follows the launch of other subsidiary businesses in areas such as Hong Kong and India and the opening of new stores in China.
The firm has also made inroads into the traditionally difficult Russian market after signing a partnership agreement with Russian distributor LVB, which will see it open two stores in Moscow early next year.
Although the firm expects the majority of its growth to come from foreign markets, it did say that it hoped to add to its 180-strong UK- based workforce in the new year, around 140 of which are based at Sunderland.
It also said that much of these jobs would spring from the recent creation of research and development team MtnHaus at its North East base, which has already produced a lightweight Gore-Tex proshell jacket which weighs less than 300g.
Cotter said: “Although we are putting a lot of effort into expanding into new regions, much of our product development and design work will still be located at our North East base, which will hopefully result in more jobs at Sunderland as we grow.”