In a move intended to get closer to the consumer, Amer Sports is introducing a new “brand-direct” business model in its global sales organization. Each of the brands in Amer’s portfolio – Arc’teryx, Peak Performance, Atomic, Salomon, Suunto, Wilson and Precor – will have a dedicated, direct sales structure in the major markets.

In other selected areas such as Russia, a global sales development team will continue to make use of synergies among the brands. The team will also take care of relations with special clients such as Amazon, Intersport International and Sport 2000 International. Amer says that it will also coordinate group capabilities such as digital platforms, “e-tail excellence” and customer service for all the brands.

The new global development team will be headed up by Armin Fuchs, who will fill the new position of vice president of global sales. Fuchs, who has been with the group for 20 years, had been appointed three years ago as general manager for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, based at Garching near Munich, when Michael White became chief commercial officer of the group. He had been previously in charge of Germany, and then of Central Europe. As recently reported, White has just been made president of the Salomon brand with effect from Jan. 1 (SGI Europe Vol. 30 N° 37+38 of Nov. 8).

Amer, which was taken over in April by a consortium headed up by China’s Anta Sports Products, says that the structural reorganization is “perfectly aligned” with its strategic focus on the development of softgoods, direct-to-consumer operations, e-commerce, China and the U.S.

The simplified, brand-dedicated team that is now being set up is meant to respond to the needs of a changing market more quickly, says Fuchs. “To succeed in consistently elevating our consumer experience across all channels, we first need to elevate our wholesale partner experience,” he argues, noting that this is particularly important in the case of Amer’s main brands because they develop highly technical products for which the consumer is seeking expert advice and service.

Amer has already started the process with a “Premium Partner” program, working with specialized retailers more closely. It has also opened single-brand stores in key cities as part of its direct-to-consumer strategy which Fuchs says is meant to better understand the consumer’s needs and desires. Fuchs says that its local wholesale partners have benefited from the resulting higher brand awareness and related investments in consumer activation.