That's the goal set for Frank Heissat, the 42-year-old French manager who was appointed last May as vice president of Oakley EMEA, responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Strong growth is expected in both the optical and sports retail channels, which currently have roughly a 50-50 split in the brand's unspecified European turnover, partly through a strong push for technical Oakley apparel and the reintroduction of the Arnette brand in a lower segment of the market.
Based at Oakley EMEA's brand center in Zurich, which has grown to a staff of 60 since its opening in August 2008, Heissat oversees a team of 160 people employed at six subsidiaries and 14 single-brand stores across the region, including sales reps who concentrate on sporting goods retailers. Oakley is looking for a new manager of its subsidiary in the U.K. following the departure of Alan Perrins, who now runs Jack Wolfskin's British sales office.
Oakley EMEA's subsidiaries are located in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the U.K. and Scandinavia. They are coordinated by Oakley EMEA, which acts a brand center for both retail circuits, focusing on marketing and other operations. Luxottica handles sales of Oakley eyewear to optical retailers.
A passionate triathlete, Heissat worked previously at Nike, Oxbow and Airesis. He now reports to Josée Perrault, the longtime Canadian executive of Oakley who ran the European operation before him. Perreault has been promoted to senior vice president, global business, occupying the second most important position at the head office in California.
The brand's turnover in Europe grew by almost 20 percent in 2010, thanks in part to the expansion of Oakley's line of prescription eyewear and the development of new products. The sell-in and the sell-through were also supported by heavy investments in billboards and other marketing initiatives that cost between 10 and 12 percent of revenues. The management will keep marketing investments at a high level, focusing especially on ski resorts in the winter and beach resorts in the summer, to maintain the brand's premium positioning.
New products with rather innovative technical and design features will be presented by Oakley to the trade at next month's Ispo show in Munich. In addition to snow goggles, sunglasses and other types of eyewear, Oakley will present a variety of garments and accessories, some of which have been specifically designed for the European market.
After the introduction of special compression boardshorts for the summer season, Oakley will introduce a new series of high-tech snow jackets with Gore-Tex and Polartec. The collection has been developed under the management of Raphael Peck, the new vice president for apparel recruited from Under Armour 10 months ago.
Additionally, a dedicated Arnette booth will host the relaunch of its once famous snow goggle by this other Californian boardsports brand, which is now part of Oakley's brand portfolio in full following its recent takeover by Luxottica from a daughter of its founder and major shareholder, Leonardo Del Vecchio.
Oakley continues to focus on action sports, motor sports, running, mountain biking and other endurance sports in the development of new products. Addressing mostly younger people, Arnette is positioned as a more accessible and more lifestyle-oriented brand for the sports trade. More classical polarized sunglasses that can be used in sailing and other water sports are sold by Luxottica under its Revo brand, but only in the optical retail network in Italy and the U.K.
Oakley is working on a more compelling presentation of its customizable eyewear. It has been giving this option online on the 16 European pages of its Oakley.com website and in its stores, drawing on the facilities of its prescription laboratory in Ireland. New initiatives in this domain can be expected in connection with the brand's presence at the Tour de France, the French cycling race, next summer.