Samsonite wants to considerably expand its international shoe line. The American company has therefore set up a separate Samsonite Footwear Division and has appointed Velimir Soskic as Managing Director of this new division. The division’s objective is to realise around  two thousand sales points in Europe and the United States by 2012. Velimir Soskic came from the Italian shoe and clothing brand Geox, where he has been responsible for expansion in the United States during the past four years.

Samsonite, mainly known as a luggage brand, launched its shoe line in Italy ten years ago. Samsonite concluded the time was right for international growth after ten years on the Italian market, where the collection was sold by some four hundred shops. Samsonite Footwear’s main global shoe market competitors in the same price class include brands like Geox, Stonefly, Mephisto and Cole Haan. The aim is to generate a 100 million euro turnover within six years. This is around 7 percent of Samsonite’s annual turnover (1.3 billion euro), which is currently being generated by the company’s own luggage brand (60 percent), other brands American Traveller and Lambertson Truex (20 percent) and licences of, for example, Lacoste and Timberland.

Samsonite’s CEO, Mercello Bottoli, is planning more brand extensions in the future. The former Louis Vuitton CEO has turned Samsonite into a luxury brand since his appointment in 2004. For example, the exclusive Black Label Couture collection was launched under his management, which the British fashion designer Alexander McQueen contributes to. This label will soon also introduce a collection of travel bags by the Dutch fashion duo Viktor and Rolf to the market. Bottoli is planning to eventually introduce Samsonite eyewear, watches and children’s shoe lines to the market.

Image: Samsonite Footwear a/w 08

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