Tretorn’s CEO Refreshes Brand Strategy

NEW YORK — Tretorn is looking for a fresh start.

The Helsingborg, Sweden-based sport-and-lifestyle brand plans to realign its product offering and brand image.

“Right now, we’re very scattered because we mean one thing to one market and something totally different in another market,” said CEO Markus Wonko, who officially took over as the brand’s new head in January.

The executive cited the label’s strength in sneakers in the U.S. and Tretorn’s popularity in outdoor products in Sweden as examples. “It’s not one footprint at this stage. That’s something we’re working on right now,” he said.

Wonko is bullish about using the brand’s Swedish roots as a platform for growth. A full product-and-marketing overhaul should be in place by 2016 for Tretorn’s 125th anniversary, Wonko said.

“Messaging will center on activities we were founded on, and we’ll build from there to position ourselves as an active leisure brand,” Wonko said. Top activities to build on include hiking, tennis, biking and hunting. “The Swedish component will play a role in everything we do,” he added.

While product is still being developed, Wonko sees the company’s biggest opportunity in the lifestyle category, by offering more heritage-inspired, premium product.

Expanding Tretorn’s presence in Asia is also a priority, Wonko said, citing countries such as Korea and Japan as key targets. “The largest share of our business today is in the Nordic markets, but we’re looking at Asia to play a key role,” he said. “I have high hopes for Japan because consumers there are often looking for very European brands with an authentic heritage.”

Aiming to have its revamped business plan completed by the end of this year, Tretorn will look to tap the resources of its parent company, Kering.

SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that having the backing of a large company is an advantage in terms of infrastructure, sourcing and trend analysis.

Powell added that the heritage brand fills a specific niche in the sport category of Kering’s portfolio, which also includes Puma and skate brand Volcom.

Looking ahead, the analyst said there is potential for the Swedish label to succeed in the crowded lifestyle market.

“Smaller brands, such as Tretorn, tend to be non-technical, and we’re still very much in a technology-is-fashion cycle right now,” Powell said. “However, I feel there is a growing trend of returning to more retro footwear, so the timing may be right for Tretorn as the market moves back to casual, low-tech athletic footwear.”

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