Why do people like the Converse brand

economy : Nike buys the sports shoe legend Converse

Berlin (vis / jojo / HB). The American sporting goods company Nike is buying a legend. Nike is taking over the sports shoe retailer Converse for $ 305 million. For Nike, Converse, which had sales of $ 205 million last year, is just a small commitment. For Converse, however, number one in the sporting goods market is the much sought-after financier. Even if the President Tom Clarke, who is responsible for new business at Nike, described the previous competitor Converse as "one of the strongest shoe brands in the world with a great legacy and a long success story" - the traditional sports shoe company is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.

Strong competition

Companies such as Nike, Reebok and other sports shoe manufacturers had given Converse such strong competition in the 80s and 90s that the traditional company founded in 1908 as the “Converse Rubber Shoe Company” had to apply for bankruptcy protection under American bankruptcy law in 1991 and again in 2001. Private investors then took over and restructured the company. In 2001 the factories in the USA and Mexico were sold. Today, Converse still does the design, sales and marketing.

The trendy retro look of the past few years brought Converse an amazing comeback. The company has 42 licensees in more than 100 countries. Wholesale sales of all products sold under the Converse brand worldwide totaled $ 390 million in 2002. Nike therefore wants to keep the current management under CEO Jack Boys.

And add a valuable brand to the Nike empire: For a long time in the 20th century, Converse was “the only legitimate basketball shoe on the field,” writes Converse of himself. “When you open the box, the paper crackles and the scent comes out of the box for fresh rubber. Whoever wears them reaps the knowing glances of those who also know the secret of Converse: They may be new shoes, but they have an old soul. ”This is how Converse describes on its homepage the fascination that has ensured that generations of American Athletes did gymnastics in the shoes that their fans affectionately call "Chucks", "Cons" or "Connies". The legendary shoes officially have names like "Chuck Taylor" - after a basketball player from the 1920s - and "All Star". The list of famous people who put their feet in the shoe with the blue star as a trademark is long: As early as the 1940s, it was fashionable to wear Converse not only for basketball.

In the 50s, James Dean did it. Converse later played in films such as "Westside Story" or "ET". Converse proudly refers to a long list of Hollywood stars like Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis or Julia Roberts who are among the Converse wearers. In Germany, too, the famous kicks have been a must for generations. Much to the annoyance of many mothers, Converse are usually only considered to be really beautiful when they are worn out and full of holes - just when you can really see their old soul.

Converse is considered a good addition to Nike because the company offers its shoes in the lower price segment. Simple chucks cost around $ 35. Nike, on the other hand, relies on expensive, innovative equipment. Industry circles said on Thursday that the takeover was an admission that Nike could no longer grow under its own name. Nike manager Tom Clarke, on the other hand, said buying strong brands is part of the expansion strategy.

With sales of $ 10.7 billion, Nike is the undisputed number one in the sporting goods market. Most recently, however, the Americans had to accept heavy losses on their home market. After the takeover, the US group will dominate more than a third of the world market for sports shoes. Adidas-Salomon doesn't even have half of Nike's market share.

Nevertheless, Adidas, the world's number two in the sporting goods industry, is calm. "That has no impact on our goals in America," said a company spokesman on Thursday.

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