Scott Sports confirmed that it bought Garmont’s ski boot sector earlier this year and plans to bring Garmont’s alpine line back to the U.S.
In September, Scott announced it acquired Garmont’s North American distribution for an undisclosed price, but it kept mum that it also bought the boot molds and intellectual property and brought four boot-focused Garmont employees into the Scott fold.
“We took a very reputable brand, acquired their assets and properties—including intellectual properties—and are adding even more resources,” says Adam Greene, Scott’s U.S. marketing manager. “There’s a lot of technology within the boot line that has been underpromoted.”
Scott Sports still isn’t releasing financial details. Garmont footwear isn’t part of the acquisition, though, as Garmont Italy wasn’t interesting in divesting its footwear business, Greene says. And Scott Sports is bringing back Garmont’s alpine ski boots to the U.S. in addition to keeping its full line of backcountry and telemark boots.
“We saw a definite need, given the quality and performance of the product, to include them in the line,” Greene says.
All the boots, for now, will still be made in the same factory in Montebelluna, Italy, but Greene says Scott revamped the Garmont tech fitting for next season. Beyond 2013-14, Scott will be in full control of boot development.
Bob Gleason, founder and co-owner of The Boot Doctors in Telluride, Colo., says he has mixed feelings on the acquisition. On one hand, more mainstream brands are entering the freeride and resort-accessed backcountry market, making more competition. But on the other hand, it’s a growing market.
“It’s an interesting time for them to be doing this,” says Gleason, who like many dealers carries Scott accessories. “Maybe it’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be how they play it that makes a difference.”
Scott Sports has vast distribution, which should help the brand—including its newly acquired ski boot line—grow, but not every retailer may be ready to pick up a new line of skis.
“I really haven’t felt that I need to have Scott skis in here yet,” Gleason says.
But Scott ski supporter Adam Justin, owner of Pro Ski Service in Seattle, is eager for Scott to take over Garmont’s ski boot category and have a wide variety of products available.
“I’m actually super duper excited because I think that they might be able to create a truly out-of-the-box [product] that kicks ass,” Justin says.
While he won’t stock the boots unless there are remarkable changes, Justin says, given Scott’s history, he’s hopeful Scott can take the boots to a new level through product development and marketing.
“What I like about Scott is it’s a U.S.-held company with somebody in charge that values not just the profit…but doing quality work,” he says. (Editor’s note: Scott was founded in the U.S. but is privately owned, and its corporate HQ is in Switzerland.)
Scott Sports hopes the acquisition will help it increase penetration in shops, but Greene says the brand isn’t in a position to force product lines on retailers who don’t want them. He says retailers can expect deeper discounts as they go deeper into the brand, though, and that model could incentivize some retailers.
“It means I’m going to have conversations with the Scott rep,” says Gleason, who in the past has left those conversations to his accessories buyer.
Greene says he knows Scott Sports has to prove its products before ski shops will carry the gear—especially skis.
“Getting people on product is key first and foremost,” he says. “We experienced the same thing in our running shoe division.”
That’s part of the reason the brand reorganized its rep structure—to ensure there’s sufficient representation in each area that can attend demos and support shops with more than occasional clinics.
“That’s a directive from the top—from our sales management,” Greene says.