Ecco Australia has firmed its commitment to the athleisure category with the launch of its new St. 1 and St. 1 Lite shoe collections. 

Ecco Australia GM Jeff Karger told Ragtrader that the category is a key focus for the business, both locally and globally. 

"The ability to combine on trend colours and detailing with Ecco’s renowned comfort and technology sees the category continuing to do well.

"The Ecco sneaker collection is for the fashion driven consumer that wants more than just a look, we want to be known for the refined design, the quality of the leathers and the comfort built in," he said. 

The launch comes as the business continues its 'premiumisation' strategy, which despite disruptions from COVID, has continued to progress well. 

Karger said that the pandemic accelerated certain aspects of the strategy, while others were adjusted, to allow the business to deliver on what the consumers were demanding from the brand.  

"The disruption of last year saw us having to merely adjust the focus of previously set objectives and reprioritise to meet the changing needs of the both the business and consumer.

"The complete roll-out of a new POS system, digital platform and ultimately omnichannel solution is one such example in which originally targeted for a late 2021, early 2022 implementation was moved forward within the overall project scope and the business was able to have this actioned for late 2020 and fully operational for early 2021," he said. 

Ecco also continued to open premium stores throughout 2020, Karger added. 

"Last year we were also proud to open three new stores in two different states, refurbish our flagship store in Westfield Sydney and relocate our Emporium Store which we fit out with our new global concept of Prime – all projects planned within our original premiumisation journey.

"Pleasingly throughout a challenging year, operationally we also recorded record improvements in retail in-store metrics as well as producing record volumes in both pairs and revenue in our two other key sales channels - wholesale and eCommerce," he said.   

The St. 1 and St. 1 Lite are available now and retail for between $179.95 and $299.95. 

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