MBT, the Swiss brand that put wellness on the footwear map, is in jeopardy.
Parent company Masai Marketing & Trading AG declared bankruptcy on May 9 in Switzerland, according to a statement on the company’s website. Joe Casagrande, president of Portsmouth, N.H.-based MBT USA, declined to comment.
The company statement noted competition over the past year led to the erosion of the brand and a significant loss of market share. A turnaround in MBT’s financial situation was not deemed possible.
In a Footwear News interview in October 2010, Klaus Heidegger, a majority shareholder of MBT USA, said the company didn’t view the onslaught of toning brands as direct competition because the labels didn’t offer the same health and wellness benefits. However, to boost sales, MBT introduced more fashion-driven lifestyle product in its spring ’11 collection.
A string of executive changes were also made to fuel growth. In September 2010, Mark Matheny was named interim president of MBT USA, replacing Paul Grimble who had overseen the brand. Casagrande took on the role of president of the U.S. and Canadian divisions in April 2011.
At present, the company’s U.S. and Canadian offices remain open. MBT launched in the U.S. market in 2003.