Speedo partners with Harper Dennis Hobbs for travel retail launch

Harper Dennis Hobbs is launching a swimwear brand Speedo into travel retail.

The announcement was made today (21 September) from Speedo parent company Pentland’s head office in North London, and the brand will be presented at the Harper Dennis Hobbs stand during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes next month.

The assortment will be distributed in the airport, airline, cruise and ferry channels.

Speaking at the event, Harper Dennis Hobbs Executive Managing Director – Travel Retail, Simon Black said: “There is a huge gap in the market for a middle range swimwear brand and it really jumped out to us that one hugely iconic brand, Speedo, wasn’t present in travel retail.

“We’re launching in the UK, Europe and the US with a roll-out planned for the Middle East and Asia to follow.”

Harper Dennis Hobbs International Wholesale Director, Jessica McGratty-Singer explained it’s a brand for everyone and for all age groups which has a great price point and has an ideal assortment range. The launch in travel retail will focus on core products and bestsellers. Accessories such as goggles and swim hats will be the key products on airlines, while swimwear and a more varied assortment will feature in airports and on cruises.

Alistair Mackinnon

Pentland Brands Head of Sports Sales, Alistair Mackinnon stated that the global swimwear industry is set to grow 35% from 2021 until 2025. Today, Speedo’s global retail sales amount to £1.3bn and the products are distributed in 180 countries, with the brand continuing to grow its market share.

On entering travel retail, Mackinnon said: “Speedo and swimming are linked to travel… Everywhere we sell near water, we do well. If you’re on a cruise ship and you’re looking to buy a reputable swimwear brand, there’s no reason you wouldn’t go for Speedo.
“The swim category is bigger than it was pre-Covid and we were missing an opportunity, we wanted to do it but never got round to it.”

On the challenges of moving into travel retail, Black commented that the company had to overcome the lack of willingness of some operators to look at new brands following the difficulties the market has been through in the past couple of years. There’s also the issue of the lack of available travel retail space, however, he said: “We feel speedo speaks for itself… and has a huge web of appeal and that’s why it’s such a perfect fit [for travel retail].”

Speedo was founded in 1914. During the 2020 Olympics, 61% of the winning swim athletes wore the brand. The six pillars of the brand are: Achievement, Innovation, Sustainability, Creativity, Community, Inclusivity; it has developed the Swim United project to get everybody involved in swimming. targeting those from low income families, different backgrounds and communities.

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