Icebreaker merges North American operations

Icebreaker chief executive Rob Fyfe says the merger will streamline decision-making, eliminate duplication and better ...
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Icebreaker chief executive Rob Fyfe says the merger will streamline decision-making, eliminate duplication and better coordinate its resources and inventory across North America.

New Zealand merino clothing company Icebreaker is merging its United States and Canadian operations, affecting 25 of its Portland staff.

Chief executive Rob Fyfe said its support teams for the US, based in Portland, and Canada, in Vancouver, will become one, with all customer service, finance, inventory, marketing and sales support to be run from Vancouver.

The merger will result in Icebreaker moving 25 Portland jobs to Vancouver - six hours drive away. All employees are being offered the opportunity to transfer to Vancouver.

"We do not know at this stage exactly how many people will choose to relocate and how many will look to remain in the Portland area, where the job market is currently very buoyant," Fyfe said.

A few years ago it merged its European operation into a single office based in Germany and merged New Zealand and Australian operations into Auckland.

Founded by Jeremy Moon in Wellington in 1994 the outdoor clothing company's apparel is sold in 3000 stores across 45 countries.

In the year to March 31 its sales will have increased by almost 15 per cent. North America represents almost 40 per cent of sales.

Its global product design, global e-commerce and US sales and marketing teams will remain in Portland where 31 staff will be employed.

US and Canada warehouse operations will also remain unchanged.

The move will reduce costs, remove duplication of roles, streamline decision making and better utilise sales teams.

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The new North American team will be lead by Icebreaker's current Canada general manager Justin Walford, who has been appointed North America vice president.

US general manager Brian Mecham will stand down at the end of March.

Icebreaker has nine stores in the US including Washington, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, Vail in Colorado, Northstar in California and two in New York as well as an outlet store in Woodburn, Oregon.

 - Stuff

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