Saenger puts own brands centre-stage
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A remarkable transformation from distributor to own brand manufacturer is paying dividends for German company Saenger. Of the 1800 new products being launched by Saenger this year, 1700 will come under its own brand labels. In total, the thriving family-owned business offers 8,755 items.
Ten years ago, 50% of Saenger’s business came from the distribution of global brands including Shimano, Shakespeare, Abu, Rapala Storm and Berkley. Today, however, it has seven own brands generating around 85% of turnover.
Anaconda, a premium carp brand, and Japanese-style Doiyo lures promise to be the best performers, supported by products in the catfish, trout, sea and match fishing sectors.
The company’s evolution has established a strong position in the domestic and European markets.
“We started selling our own brands direct to German shops around 10 years ago,” explained Manager Andreas Rudolph. “We felt very exposed as a pure distributor because of our dependence on the brand owners and their changing policies. Now the business is much more resilient and we are in control of our own strategy.
“In the future we will work more and more on a one-to-one basis with shops because there is not enough margin to work with distributors and wholesalers.
“Our policy is to grow step by step through sustainable relationships with shops. For example, we started in Benelux two years ago and we are growing by 25% each year.
“Our customers benefit from our 600-page trade catalogue and we maintain 90% stock availability during the season. Our fast replacement of product is very important for shop owners. “
Originally a manufacturer of rolling bearings, Saenger began life in 1956 in a converted barn nestled in the wooded Taunus region some 50 miles north of Frankfurt. It was 20 years later, when current Managing Director Hans-Jurgen Saenger returned from vacation with a surprise order for 1,000 sea fishing pirks, that the company became interested in the fishing tackle market.
Changing course from distributor to brand owner began in 2005 and after strong domestic growth in the last few years, Saenger believes it is in the top five tackle companies in Germany. Now it is turning its attention to Europe to build on sales in the Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland and the Benelux countries.
Plans for expansion include Russia and the UK, although both are not without their problems admits Rudolph: “We are interested in suitable partners in Russia but there is a language problem, particularly among younger people. The UK is also attractive but it is the founder of the carp market and it is difficult to get trust in other brands.”
Saenger made big strides with its Anaconda range last year, including the launch of seven new bivvies, and expects that momentum to continue into 2014. There are 274 different luggage items in its new catalogue and it regards itself as a market leader for luggage in Germany.
Saenger is equally excited about the sales of its Doiyo lures. “It is a growing category and one in which we are very, very strong,” says Rudolph. “Consumers are asking for new items from Doiyo and we have already received our first orders for the brand for 2015.”
Saenger brand portfolio
- Anaconda – a premium, high-turnover carp brand and particularly strong in luggage sales.
- Iron Claw – Saenger’s predator range offers everything from pike, walleye, perch, and chub tackle to gear for trout, sea trout and salmon. Includes popular Doiyo lures.
- Uni Cat – a growing category of specialist catfish products for Europe’s big cat hunters.
- MS Range – from hooks to rods, a complete programme for the modern match and feeder fisherman.
- Iron Trout – the company’s game fishing range has customers in Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.
- Aquantic – a growing sector for Saenger after some German companies stopped providing saltwater products.
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