Reebok has delivered several acclaimed collaborations recently, and the heritage sneaker brand’s new parent company, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), thinks it has a lot more to offer.
he expects Reebok’s business to grow more than 20% in 2022, with more than $5 billion in global retail sales – and $10 billion in annual global retail sales over the course of of the next five years. “People say, ‘Oh, you’re going after Adidas’ or ‘You’re going after Nike.’ We’re not going after Adidas, we’re not going after Nike. We’re looking to build a great brand.”
Since closing the $2.5 billion acquisition in March, ABG has cemented several high-profile partnerships. More recently, it signed an agreement with Macy’s to carry an expanded assortment of Reebok merchandise, and in February it signed an agreement with Foot Locker to exclusively carry select Reebok footwear in its stores and website in the United States. Late last year, ABG said it had partnered with JD Group to distribute Reebok in thousands of stores across North America and Europe, including JD Sports, Finish Line, DTLR, Shoe Palace, Size?, Sprinter and SportZone.
From a product perspective, Reebok – formerly owned by Adidas – will place more emphasis on high-temperature collaborations and game-changing partnerships. Most recently, the brand unveiled its latest range with legendary interior design firm Eames Office, continuing the atypical partnership launched in the summer of 2021. The latest effort features five new iterations of the classic leather, with two looks landing on Reebok .com on June 10. and three more on June 21.
Looking ahead, ABG is confident that partnerships and collaborations will advance Reebok’s position in the broader sneaker landscape. Natasha Fishman, CCO and EVP of Marketing at ABG, specifically mentioned its long-term partnership with luxury fashion company New Guards Group, which is home to brands such as Opening Ceremony, Palm Angels and several others.
“In tandem with ABG, we are now able to look at the space with wider eyes to pursue both the next echelon of fashion partnerships and the most unique cultural stories the market will see. With our heritage in mind, we continue to honor our OGs while bringing Reebok into new spaces and welcoming new consumers to the brand,” said Todd Krinsky, senior vice president and general manager of products at Reebok.
Below, Fishman shares his insights with FN on his plans to strengthen Reebok’s position in the sneaker landscape.
What is ABG’s vision for Reebok in the streetwear space?
“There is a conversion in the approach towards streetwear and a really more cultural reflection. For Reebok, this vision is certainly to maintain its position and to develop it. Of course we are commercial, we are looking to build business, but we want to take advantage of its place [in streetwear] to help drive the core, to help amplify and grow those other core businesses.
How do partnerships play into Reebok’s position in the streetwear space?
“It may be a very simple answer, but she advances it. It’s about finding and researching relevant partners, and that relevance has different attributes. They may be a little non-traditional, but not non-traditional for the sake of being non-traditional. In the case of Eames, it is the relevance of the design. They were not only galvanizing design, but modern furniture design can be attributed to Charles and Ray Eames. You see this thread running through modern design today: furniture, furnishings, toys. In terms of future partnerships, I would say [Eames] is an indicator in terms of finding partners, brands, collaborators who represent something unique in their own respective space, in the same way as Reebok.
Going forward, how will Reebok approach partnerships?
“From a business perspective, it’s absolutely about leveraging collaborations and partnerships to help elevate the brand, to help build brand relevance. Absolutely, there’s the business element, but [the creative vision is] relevance, it brings something new to the world, brings something that will drive the conversation, that helps the brand show up in spaces it is not currently in and helps to become more relevant in the conversations it is already a part of . These iconic styles that were part of the zeitgeist in the 90s and continue to be part of the zeitgeist, collaborations [using them will] help amplify this and introduce them to new generations.
How would you describe Reebok’s position in the sneaker landscape today?
“From a business perspective, there is a long way to go. Granted, there are big No. 1s and No. 2s there, so there are plenty of opportunities for growth. In terms of relevance, same thing. It’s just not as complete. And where the distribution is headed, how we drive it as a company, we think specifically about where we take the brand. I will go back to [New Guards Group] relationship. The opportunity is to lead the uplift and partner with an organization that can get you there, and to do so with authority. This partnership will be essential for growth, but also for the continued elevation of the brand. »
What about Reebok’s position in the sneaker world that most impressed ABG before the acquisition that they don’t want to change?
“Icon strategy is 100%. It was obvious. Using Club C as core, using Classic Leather as core, Nano as core, Float as core, Zig as core. They are staples of the line and the way they are interpreted is almost endless. In some ways, it was like not changing anything. Don’t change anything in design, don’t change the shoes, it’s something that’s so pure in some ways because it doesn’t exist. There’s so much you can do just with icons, just color-wise. There’s so much to do, not to mention these amazing collaborations. There is a very unique philosophy that belongs to this brand. Don’t change that.
How would you like to see this position change or evolve?
“We see opportunities in the journeyman categories. I think growing the women’s business is important in terms of expanding our presence in active lifestyle and lifestyle. There are very thoughtful parallel paths there, and then there is also an intersection of these two components.