May 9, 2017
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Swims details growth brand plans under Differential Brands Group

May 9, 2017

The acquisition of Swims by Differential Brands Group in 2016 signified a new chapter for the companies, which both had much to gain from a partnership.

In July 2016, Swims Co-founder Alex Eskeland expressed his excitement about the acquisition and explained that Swims will benefit from Differential's omni-channel distribution as much as Differential will benefit from Swims' well-developed international network.

Since then, Differential Brands posted a 104% increase in net sales to end fiscal 2016, which was driven by Swims and fellow major player Hudson Jeans.

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“[The acquisition by Differential Brands] has signaled to our North American wholesale partners that we are now supported by a parent company that has the know-how and capability to grow premium brands,” said Jake Brandman, President of Swims. “Our partners have always loved the brand but have wanted additional security to know that the brand has the resources and capability to grow further so they could continue investing as well.”

Founded in 2006, the Scandinavian brand revived the galosh and quickly ventured into water resistant and waterproof footwear before expanding to a full lifestyle collection with polo shirts, swimwear, outerwear and accessories for men and women.

Swims is far from a niche brand, offering fully functional products that cater to the needs of those that live in a wet climate or those that simply want to be prepared for spontaneous inclement weather.

The Scandinavian brand opened 6 licensed branded stores in Kuwait, Bahrain, Cartagena, and Dubai among others, and is available in over 40 countries at over 1,200 retailers, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Isetan, Colette, Le Bon Marche, and Selfridges.

Michael F. Buckley, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Differential Brands Group Inc., said “We have been delighted by the addition of SWIMS to the Differential Brands family. As a sought-after lifestyle brand in both Europe and North America, we believe that Swims offers significant growth opportunity through increased brand awareness, increased investment into innovative products, and continued expansion through wholesale and direct channels.”

Differential Brands is expected to help Swims in the North American market and help the brand achieve its goal of tripling sales in the next five years.
The lifestyle brand also has plans to enhance its digital footprint and maximize its online presence, which has become a major focus for the brand. Swims maintains its mission of capitalizing on its success in North America and maximizing its presence in the Scandinavian and Western European markets. The ability to have direct conversations with customers will be critical for the brand's growth.

“We have access to a strong digital marketing capability that Differential Brands Group has established to support its brands,” said Brandman. “This is helping us establish a strong and direct conversation with our customers who have come to love the brand all while helping to introduce the brand to customers who have yet to discover it.”

Differential Brands posted a 163% increase in wholesale sales and a 29% increase in consumer direct sales for the fiscal year, due to the addition of Swims and Hudson Jeans. The acquisition gave Differential a net loss from continuing operations of $16.5 million and increased its expenses to $89.6 million from $43.5 million ($31.9 million of the additional expense was related to the addition of Swims and Hudson). 

The brands also contributed $37.2 million in gross profit, increasing the total to $79.5 million from $44.9 million.

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