Investing and Global Finance News

Interview with Rob DeMartini, CEO of New Balance

Rob DeMartini, CEO of New Balance, recently discussed the company’s American factories, its plans to expand beyond running shoes, and the recent $500 million Brighton Landing project in an interview with the Boston Globe’s Taryn Luna.

Luna asked: “You’re pushing the federal government to apply the Berry Amendment, which requires the military to provide soldiers with US made gear whenever possible. How would this affect New Balance’s US manufacturing?

DeMartini: “We’re not making a push to do anything but get the military to enforce a law that has been on the books since the ’40s. US-made athletic shoes are available. It’s the only place on the uniform, head-to-toe, where the Berry Amendmentis not enforced. The commitment we’ve laid out is if Berry will be enforced, we’ll hire up to 250 more workers into our five factories.”

New Balance has been very vocal against changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership that could remove a tariff on shoes exported to the US. If this happens, would your domestic factories remain open?”

“We’ve been making shoes in the US since 1938. No single piece of legislation is going to stop us, but it’s going to make it harder and harder.”

“New Balance is churning out more casual shoes than ever before. Why?

“Our casual shoes are coming out of our Made in the USA program. You can command a premium for it and consumers flock to it. I was in Mexico recently and some of our casual shoes are commanding $150 to $200 US dollars because American still means quality.

The New Balance brand is still a performance brand at its heart, but lifestyle is very popular. It probably makes up 35 percent of our total sales. It’s sports shoes worn on Friday and Saturday nights. The casual work environment has helped us. People don’t dress as formally anymore.”

“Brighton Landing just broke ground. Why invest $500 million in the project when many of the facilities won’t be used by New Balance and the current headquarters are more than adequate?”

“It’s a complex and complicated project that is bigger than New Balance the company. From a business standpoint, we’re preparing to be a $5 billion company. Our headquarters will be significantly bigger. The rest of the buildings, whether it be the medical-oriented office parks, the retail, the T stop, or the sports complex, that’s about giving back to Brighton.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.