European swimwear giant Arena has successfully implemented a new strategy to overcome the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The closure of swimming pools during lockdowns resulted in a decline in sales for the company. However, with the appointment of a new managing director, Peter Graschi in late 2021, Arena began to see a significant turnaround.

According to Giuseppe Musciacchio, Deputy CEO of Arena, the company has managed to recover 50% of its lost sales from 2020 and has even surpassed their expectations by the end of April 2022. Arena’s overall business volume, which includes direct markets and licensed distribution, is projected to return to pre-pandemic levels, reaching around €300 million. The company’s own revenue is also expected to grow to over €120 million, with online channels such as e-shops, Amazon, Zalando, and Swim Outlet contributing to 25% of sales.

One of the significant contributing factors to Arena’s overall recovery has been its strong customer relationships and reputation for high-quality products. In addition, collaborations with fashion and luxury brands such as Bape, Avnier, and Fendi have expanded their appeal beyond competition swimming. The partnership with Fendi, in particular, allowed Arena to tap into a new audience segment that typically would not be associated with sports. This change in strategy has positioned Arena for success in a post-pandemic market that has undergone significant transformation.

Arena’s main market, France, is predicted to experience a 50% sales growth, surpassing the company’s expectations. This growth can be attributed to the positive sales trend observed at sporting retailers like Decathlon and Intersport. Arena’s revenue in France is expected to reach almost €30 million.

Despite considering an exit before the pandemic, Arena’s Swiss owner, Capvis, has chosen to support the company’s new strategic plan. Capvis has allocated a substantial investment budget to help Arena execute its strategy, indicating their confidence in the brand’s potential within the post-Covid market.

Arena is currently in the process of transitioning to SAP as its ERP solution, aiming to align its global operational tools and customer-related activities. This shift represents a change in corporate culture that seeks to bring Arena closer to its end consumers and enhance its value proposition. The company aims to convey a consistent message and image worldwide, with a focus on faster growth in the US market, which is expected to generate more revenue than the French market in the near future.

To further bolster its non-competition products, Arena plans to implement a revised communication strategy in 2023. This approach, known as ‘Water Instinct,’ aims to appeal to all swimming practitioners, not just pool enthusiasts. As part of this strategy, Arena will introduce new product categories, including a beachwear range with shorts for men. The company is also exploring potential collaborations in this segment.

Overall, Arena’s deployment of a new strategy, commitment to innovation, and focus on growth position it for success in the evolving swimwear market. With its recovery well underway and plans to expand its customer base and product offerings, Arena is poised to reclaim its position as a leading player in the industry.

Useful Links:

1. Arena Official Website
2. Swim Outlet