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Protest’s march gathers pace with UK subsidiary

Dutch boardsports brand Protest plans to expand its UK presence after setting up a subsidiary to be run by former members of surfwear brand O’Neill’s sales team.

Protest, which has about 55 stockists in the UK and Republic of Ireland, is taking distribution for the markets in-house from spring 2010, after its agreement with distributor Glacier Imports ended.
Former O’Neill sales and marketing director Paul Wilkinson has joined Protest as country manager, while John Tyson has been appointed as national account manager. He was previously head of key accounts and product development at O’Neill.

Laura McCormick and Demelza Warner have also joined from O’Neill, as area sales managers for the south east and south Wales respectively.

Protest has created product specific to the UK and RoI markets for men’s, women’s and kids’ wear for spring 10, and aims to win market share in the lower-priced area of the boardsports market. The collection will include core boardsports clothing styles as well as bikinis and more fashion-oriented styles such as maxi dresses. Prices range from £6.60 to £16.60.
Wilkinson said: “Protest is driven on the whole price and quality relationship. We are priced lower than most of the other big brands, and sit more against Animal, if not a little lower in certain categories.

“We saw we were doing very well internationally but this wasn’t replicated in the UK to the same extent.

“The range for the UK is more basic and understated. We want to heighten awareness of the brand so we will do more marketing
and expand the account base with department stores and indies.”

Protest sells in 41 countries, with about 75% of its turnover coming from outside the Netherlands. Its annual sales are about €60 million (£51m).
Call 0191 215 5024 for details.

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