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Sperry focuses on a younger market as it celebrates 80th anniversary

US footwear brand Sperry is celebrating its 80th anniversary by targeting a younger market and pushing its nautical heritage with a new global campaign. 

The label, which invented the boat shoe in 1935, will now focus on the 13 to 24-year-old age group, rather than shoppers in their 30s to drive growth.

Rick Blackshaw president of Sperry told Drapers: “A milestone like the 80th anniversary is a great time to take stock of the brand and the ethos behind it. We wanted to give some of its nautical authenticity back to it. We did a lot of research into who was buying into the brand and we found that our audience is a 13 to 24-year-old consumer; our preconception was that they were older.”

He added: “We then had to work on how to reach out to that younger consumer. Our global campaign tries to reach their sense of adventure through the sea. The sea is a character and the campaign has a lot more energy and activity than before.”

Blackshaw said the brand was pushing the boat shoe in order to drive international growth in 2015. Sperry also produces trainers and boots.

“We are really focusing on the boat shoe as it’s the essence of the brand. Globally we have 60% of the market share [for boat shoes] so we need to drive that. In 2015 we are looking at fashion-forward markets like the UK, France, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Chile and Mexico for growth.”

Sperry will look at expanding into China later in 2015. “China is a massive opportunity to export. It’s a longer term opportunity,” Blackshaw added.

Wholesale prices for both Sperry men’s and women’s product ranges from £25 for boat shoes to £48 for boots. Currently there are 72 Sperry stockists in the UK.

@jillgeoghegan

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