(Filed Under wholesale Hosiery News). Delta Galil Industries, Ltd. has become the exclusive global licensee of men’s and women’s socks for Columbia Sportswear, Ohad Cohn, president of Delta Socks for North America, told BODY. The company will begin delivering product in August. The seasonal collections of Columbia outdoor performance socks include hiking socks, trail running socks, hunting socks, outdoor lifestyle socks, ski socks and snowboard socks.
The new hosiery will “be distributed at Columbia retail stores, big box sporting goods retailers, as well as select department and specialty stores worldwide,” according to a statement by Delta. Columbia has long been a major player in the active outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment industries.
Because there are many Columbia branded stores, as well as a vast distribution of Columbia products, the potential socks market for Delta is huge. According to its latest annual report there are “approximately 3,500 wholesale customers” for Columbia products in the U.S. In addition, there are a combination of 53 branded and outlet stores in the U.S. and Canada, another 10 Columbia stores in Europe and “111 and 236 dealer-operated, branded, outlet and shop-in-shop locations in Japan and Korea, respectively.” Overall, according to an uncredited reference on its Wikipedia page, “Columbia Sportswear distributes its products in more than 72 countries and 13,000 retailers.”
“Columbia is one of the most well-respected brands in the sports and outdoor industry and a great addition to our licensed portfolio,” wrote Isaac Dabah, CEO of Delta Galil. “We are thrilled to be partnering with a company whose commitment to quality, performance and value mirrors our own. We look forward to applying our strength in design, product and material innovation and global distribution to grow the Columbia brand and our own business.”
“The collection will be on display at Columbia’s booth during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 23-26, 2013,” according to the company statement. “Delta Galil is the current sock licensee for Wilson, Converse, Kenneth Cole and several other leading sport brands.”
Delta went after the Columbia license because it represents “a great addition to our current license portfolio” said Cohn in a phone interview with BODY. “We have Wilson, which is a leading brand for tennis, American football, baseball and golf. Converse,” he continued, “is all about lifestyle. Kenneth Cole, which is all about fashion. Columbia is about outdoor sports and outdoor lifestyles. It is a truly incremental business,” he emphasized, meaning that there will be “no cannibalization of our current licenses. It’s a great addition.”
One of the most significant aspect of the licensing agreement, according to Cohn, is that it brings a major brand, Columbia, that produces a wide range of outdoor apparel, to the outdoor sock market. Currently, he said, “The outdoor sock market is dominated by a very few players, and these brands are purely sock brands.” Because of this he perceives a significant opportunity. “The market needs a leading outdoor brand, a mega-brand, that will come up with a strong collection of socks.” He added that the market should be “very receptive — everyone knows Columbia. It is really an outdoor brand, not a sock brand.”
“We have developed a pretty wide collection of socks” that cover a range of activities as well as “lifestyle” collections, Ohad told BODY. Collections cover such activities as “trekking/hiking, trail running, ski, snow board and hunting” in that order of importance. “We have taken a good, better, best approach” he added, describing the quality and pricing tiers within various collections.
Merino wool blends are expected to be an important component of many of the socks. “This is a very important yarn, that is taking over from synthetics,” Cohn emphasized, listing benefits such as “regulating body temperature” to “provides warmth on one hand,” yet without overheating; a “wicking feature which draws moisture away from the feet;” antibacterial properties and softness (“it is one of the softest types of wool available out there.”
He added that Delta is using “Drt-release wool yarns” in its more technical socks, to add improved wicking properties. Another material that will be used in technical socks is Kevlar yarn, to provide strength to the heel area. The reinforcement of the heel creates “a very strong sock” and is revealed in the yellow coloration of the yarn.
Cohn said he expected retail prices for the most technical socks to be in the $22 to $25 range per pair. At the other end of the spectrum there will be a lifestyle group priced at $20 for two pairs of socks as well as a collection of socks sold in packs of three pairs for $18.
Cohn emphasized that one of the advantages for Delta is that “we are truly global in terms of our production platform. Our collections are produced in the U.S., Israel, South Korea, China and Pakistan.” He added that the company has sales teams across North America and around the world. The Delta Socks division was formerly known as Auburn Hosiery, and evolved from a purchase made by Delta some years ago.
Delta Galil develops, produces and markets socks, seamless apparel including bras, shapewear; intimate apparel for women; men’s underwear; baby wear, active wear, sleepwear, and leisure wear. It also has a sizable private label sport sock business and is a public company listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Cohn can be reached for North American wholesale transactions at his New Jersey office at (201) 305 4441.
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