Lauma goes West

  • 2000-10-05
  • Ilze Arklina
RIGA - Lauma, one of Latvia's leading manufacturers of women's lingerie, has succeeded in reorienting its exports from East to West. In 1999, 55 percent of lingerie sales went to the Western market, up 26.4 percent in 1998.

In the first eight months of 2000, Lauma generated sales of 11.059 million lats, up 20 percent from the same period in 1999. The company's net profit was 9.8 percent of the turnover, Lauma's vice-president Viktors Aispurs told journalists on Sept. 20.

The company's turnover target for 2000 is 16 million lats, and the profit target is 1.6 million lats. In 1999 Lauma had a turnover of 13.6 million lats.

The company hopes to raise annual sales to 22 million lats in the coming two or three years, with 20 percent of the total production to be sold in the Baltic countries, 40 percent in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries and 40 percent in Western Europe.

After the financial crisis in Russia in 1998, Lauma changed its strategy of lingerie exports from Eastern to Western countries, still keeping its leading role as supplier of raw materials to lingerie manufacturers in the CIS countries.

"Before, our main market was in the CIS countries, but after all those crises we decided that to stay with only one market is dangerous. Now we want to find a golden midway between CIS, Europe and the Baltic States," Aispurs said. He told The Baltic Times that his company does not suffer from the downfall of euro. "The amount of our exports to the euro zone is significant, but, as we purchase all our raw materials in the Western market, the change of exchange rate has only a slight effect on us," Aispurs said. The program of modernization of the enterprise and invention of new technologies, with investment totaling 4.6 million lats, was started in 1998. The development of technology initiates some job cuts, "without which the enterprise can't survive," Aispurs said.

Lauma is set to change its lingerie production concept radically as of January 2001, designer Ilze Sveiduka said. She said Lauma will produce lingerie in three permanent lines - Lauma Lux, Lauma Fashion and Lauma Classic.

Lauma Lux will feature lingerie of exclusive design, Lauma Fashion will be targeted at fashion-conscious women while Lauma Classic will feature lingerie in somewhat conservative style.

The lingerie is already sold under Lauma's trademark in the CIS, Eastern Europe and some Western European countries.