Some surprising news reached us last week; Brasher, one of Britain’s most loved footwear brands, is to ‘join together’ with fellow UK Brand, Berghaus. The result of this will be that the Brasher brand will effectively cease to exist, and selected Brasher boots will be sold under the Berghaus name from Spring/Summer 2015 onwards.
This development has been made possible because both Berghaus and Brasher have been owned by the same parent company, Pentland Group, since 1993. The rationale for the merger, as given by Berghaus in their initial marketing drive the new integrated boot range, is that Berghaus are “the UK’s number 1 choice for fabric hiking boots”, with Brasher being “the UK’s number 1 choice for leather hiking boots”. On paper therefore, Berghaus stands to become the UK’s “number 1” hiking boot brand full stop after the merger. Of course, we all know that these things are never that simple… Still, providing Berghaus play their cards right over the next 12 months, and can win over a significant share of existing Brasher customers, the ‘new’ Berghaus boot range should do well.
The real reason for the merger is probably more complex. Reading between the lines, Pentland Group clearly fail to see sufficient value (or profit) in the Brasher brand to sustain it as a standalone entity, following successive failed attempts to introduce new Brasher products, and persistent distribution issues. In what seems to be an attempt to make the most of Brasher’s credibility and popularity to gain brand leverage in the leather boot market for Berghaus, this merger seeks to set Berghaus up as the most “complete and commercial” walking boot brand; producing both fabric and leather walking boots under one roof for the first time.
That said, many people will be deeply disappointed that Brasher, one of the greatest British outdoor brands, is to be lost. Founded by Chris Brasher, pacemaker for Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile, 1966 Olympic Steeplechase gold medalist and London Marathon co-founder; Brasher boots were born in 1978 as the solution to the discomfort of stiff, heavy leather boots. Since then their ‘out of the box comfort’, light weight and performance have won Brasher boots a place in the collective heart of the British hillwalking public. It’ll be a sad day, when after 37 years of producing some of the UK’s favourite walking boots, Brasher ceases to exist.
For an overview of the Brasher brand and its significance, check out this brief video history:
The new Berghaus footwear range will be available from Spring 2015, and will include classic ex-Brasher boots such as the Hillmaster, Fellmaster, and Supalite. It is due to be advertised through the “biggest ever footwear advertising campaign” conducted by Berghaus, which will surely have an impact. However, it may struggle to win over those people left mourning the demise of Brasher.
First public opinion, and then profitability, will be the indicators as to whether or not the merger has been a success for Berghaus. We’ll be following this story with interest.
We’d love to hear what you think about the integration of Brasher into Berghaus. You can let us know your opinions on the matter on our Facebook page (Webtogs – The Camping & outdoor Shop), Twitter (@Webtogs), or Google Plus (+Webtogs). Or just comment on this post via WordPress! You can also shop for our range of Berghaus boots direct at Webtogs
Thanks for reading,