21 Nov 2011

Kathmandu sets sights on Nth America

7:00 am on 21 November 2011

Kathmandu is set to target North America in the first step of an online global retailing plan.

The Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, which is listed both in New Zealand and Australia, is doubling its capital spending this year to cover the costs of developing a new website, as well as opening 15 new stores and refurbishing existing stores.

Chief executive Peter Halkett says online retailing will give it global exposure.

"We can go to the United States and Canada much cheaper than we would have done five years ago when the only way you could enter those countries was either through a wholesale agreement or through building your own stores,'' he said.

''So it's a very good opportunity for Kathmandu but it's not without some risk to our existing business."

Mr Halkett says it is not a simple option just to start up a website in a new country, the basics still need to be done through building a profile, gaining sponsorship deals, and getting the promotion, pricing and brand awareness right.

Kathmandu is also looking to Japan, where people like to get outdoors.

But Mr Halkett says there will always be a place for stores and that it may not be at least a decade before online is the most dominant wing of the business.