ASICS America Adds New Department & Expands Team, release, note by Larry Eder


Image via Wikipedia

ASICS America announces new department, Onitsuka Tiger. This is how ASICS America goes after the lifestyle market and keeps from annoying the performance running food chain. My big question will be what happens when the gold medal accounts want to carry Onitsuka Tiger apparel or shoes?  It is in this type of
set up, that authentic and cool fuse. Hugh opportunity for ASICS America.

I can see Onitsuka Tiger line being quite popular with the 19-30 year old market. Very authentic, with strong logo I.D. and some cool colors not found in nature.

In recent releases, as Wulff evolves ASICS America, he has been quite adamant about ASICS focus to keep it's number one performance running position. It has to be obvious that Mr. Wulff was brought in to find other profit centers while shoring up performance running, which is more competitive, and will be more so in 2012-2015.

Recent economic slow downs do not seem to be hurting performance running footwear ($100-$125 plus), while apparel seems to, as always, have its ups and downs. Watch for strong back to school sales with cross country runners (especially the 100,000 or so newbies) purchasing running shoes in August & September.

The running look continues to be popular and just go to any music club ( I was in one this weekend). Most of the trend setters are in tshirts, and authentic running brands. 


-Onitsuka Tiger Lifestyle Department is Created-

ASICS America announces the addition of a new department called Onitsuka
Tiger Lifestyle to accommodate the current and future growth of the
flourishing Onitsuka Tiger brand.

Onitsuka Tiger has seen significant growth over the past 10 years, since its
launch in 2001.  The brand is owned by parent company ASICS Corporation,
which launched the collection as original models brought back from the
1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's with color and material updates.
Maintaining the vintage and authentic history of these styles, Onitsuka
Tiger caught the attention of the public because each shoe tells an athletic
story from the past. The collection has shoes that were worn in the Mexico
Olympic Games in 1968 (Mexico 66) and shoes that were part of the 1980's
running boom (Ultimate 81).  The brand saw sales of $16 million in 2010.

"For the past 10 years, the brand momentum for Onitsuka Tiger has grown
significantly and consumer demand continues to skyrocket," says Kevin Wulff,
President and CEO for ASICS America Corporation.  "We've reached the point
in which this category needs a standalone business unit."

Natacha Alpert will lead the newly formed department of marketing, sales and
product for Onitsuka Tiger as the Senior Lifestyle Manager.  She will report
directly to Kevin Wulff, and will be responsible for footwear and creating
an apparel and accessories collection specific to the brand.  Alpert comes
to ASICS most recently from American Sporting Goods (ASG) as the Global
Senior Product Development Manager for AVIA.  Prior to ASG, she was at
Reebok as the Global Senior Product Manager for Lifestyle, The Timberland
Company on the Men's Footwear for Europe and Asia and Kenneth Cole as the
International Brand Manager.

In addition, Colin Brickley was recently hired as Sales and Marketing
Manager for Onitsuka Tiger Lifestyle. Brickley will be responsible for
implementing strategic sales and marketing plans to achieve sales goals
within the category. He brings experience with lifestyle brands working most
recently at Pony International as the Director of Global Marketing and prior
to that at Reebok, where he served as the Entertainment Marketing Manager.

Veterans John Luna and Akiko Amano-Clodt will continue as Product Manager
and Creative Manager for footwear respectively.  Luna has been with ASICS
for nine years, working on the Onitsuka Tiger brand since 2005.  He will
work with the global team to create the distinctive look of this vintage
category of product.  Amano-Clodt, has been at ASICS for 13 years and helped
launch the brand in 2001, she will continue to head up the creative
direction of the styles, colors and special projects.

Onitsuka Tiger Lifestyle will utilize the events experience of Aggie
Bartlomowicz, who has been managing the ASICS and Onitsuka Tiger lifestyle
event sponsorships for over two years.  Within this new department, she will
be able to focus solely on one brand and maintain the momentum.
Bartlomowicz also brings global experience from her time spent at Oakley
managing their direct marketing efforts.

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