Birkenstock wants to be clear: It is not selling to Amazon.com — and hasn’t since it cut ties with the internet giant four years ago.
A banner headline on the Business of Fashion website this morning reads “Birkenstock Starts Selling to Amazon Again.” The report asserts that the comfort label has given Amazon-owned Zappos.com permission to sell its products “again.”
It’s a non-story,” said David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas. “We sell Zappos, and we have for many years. They are a valued partner, and we have an excellent relationship. We will continue to be creative in how — together — we share our brand with our fans.”
However, Kahan emphasized: “We do not sell Amazon, and haven’t since we exited the relationship four years ago.”
Kahan has for years been vocal about the brand’s problems with Amazon, noting in previous interviews that its open marketplace fostered an environment of “unacceptable business practices,” such as counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers that showed “a blatant disregard for our pricing policies.”
The executive said today that Birkenstock remains one of the most in-demand shoe brands. “This was true before the crisis and remains true during the crisis. Our brand stands for comfort, both literally and also emotionally. So in a time of crisis, we are one brand people seem to be seeking.
Birkenstock is connecting with its customers through its own website “first and foremost,” Kahan said. It is also partnering more closely with key retail partners on digital and social initiatives, including Zappos.