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Industry News:

Salomon to Streamline Product Line, Distribution Network in U.S.

French Company Plans Consolidation of Inline Skate Strategy in Response to Financial Losses

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Salomon plans to streamline its inline skate product line and distribution network in the United States, a company official said Monday.

"We are consolidating our U.S. strategy to be more in line with actual market conditions," said Michael Chiasson, product category manager for Salomon North America.

"This means a combination of being more streamlined in terms of product range and distribution and being more reactive to regional market ups and downs," said Chiasson in an email from Salomon's corporate headquarters in France.

Salomon has reported financial losses for the last several quarters, based on falling sales of inline skates and alpine gear.

Last month, its owner, the sport giant Adidas, announced it was unloading the company. The Finland-based company Amer Sports agreed to buy it for $628.4 million (US).

After the sale was announced, rumors circulated that Salomon would leave the inline market, at least in the United States, to concentrate on its core market: ski equipment.

But Chiasson said the rumors are false. "We are not pulling out of the inline skate market," he said.

Salomon's French team is developing a new long-term strategy that "includes new and innovative products that will be launched as each market is ready for them," he added.

Salomon is a relative newcomer to the inline market. It has only been making skates for eight years.

But in that time, it has emerged as a popular maker of high-end fitness skates and the leader in the freestyle market.

It has also become prominent as the co-sponsor of the powerful Saab-Salomon World inline racing team.

(posted on June 14, 2005)

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