What is the history behind the brand?
It was in June 1973 that Lotto made its debut among sports footwear manufacturers. Tennis shoes signalled the beginning of production, followed by models for basketball, volleyball, athletics and football. Sports clothing took the stage afterwards. In its first 10 years Lotto focused on the Italian market, becoming a reference brand in the sports articles segment and a leading company in tennis.
The 1980s saw Lotto begin to create its first football boot models and sign major collaboration agreements with internationally renowned players and teams, including John Newcombe, Andrei Gomes and José Luis Clerc in tennis, and Ruud Gullit and Holland in football. Their involvement in both the design and fine-tuning of the products, together with their image, led the company to become a leader in tennis and football.
This same period saw Lotto expand into the export market. International growth continued rapidly, and 10 years later the brand was being distributed in more than 60 countries around the world.
Today the performance segment has been strengthened. Special focus is given to footwear and technical clothing for football and tennis, supporting the brand’s worldwide leadership with products that are right on the cutting edge in terms of innovation and design.
In November 2006 Lotto acquired Etonic, a leading American company that manufactures running, golf, bowling and walking shoes, thus increasing the number of brands under the company trademark to five.
In Lotto’s history major sponsorships have always been the keystones to success. This tradition continues today in football with World Cup winner Luca Toni, Giuseppe Rossi, Mohamed Sissoko and with Liverpool and England defender Glen Johnson. It also forges ahead with teams ranging from Fiorentina, Palermo and Udinese in Italy, Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany, Sochaux and Nice in France, QPR and Barnsley in the UK, El Deportivo La Coruna in Spain, Zulte Waregem in Belgium, Ergotelis in Greece, Atletico Mineiro, Coritiba, Goias and Recife in Brazil, and San Lorenzo de Almagro in Argentina, as well as the national teams of Costa Rica and Colombia.
What are the company’s key strategies?
Lotto has always had a clear company strategy that revolves around research and development, strategic global expansion and sponsorship.
Research and development is an area of strength – a high percentage of total sales is dedicated to the study of new technologies and launching new products.
Lotto has always placed great importance on sponsorships, which have been key to the brand’s success. This tradition continues today with major athletes and teams tied to the Italian company, ranging from Luca Toni and Glen Johnson in football, to Robin Soderling and David Ferrer in tennis.
In tennis, Lotto has been present at the Italian Open in Rome for more than 30 years and has never missed a Grand Slam event or the nine Masters Series.
What are the main product technologies?
Lotto Sport Italia is well known for its exclusive and patented technologies. The first major technology that was launch by the company, with the collaboration of Professor Mauro Testa and the Ergovision lab, was the ‘Lace Less’ concept, the only laceless football boot in the world.
This project was first launched at the 2006 World Cup, and is about to be relaunched with a redesigned model for the Fifa World Cup 2010.
The laceless technology wraps the foot like a glove: the absence of laces extends the contact surface of the entire upper, ensuring complete contact with the ball without elements of disruption for maximum precision when striking the ball.
Another new technology, launched this year and exclusive to Lotto, is ‘Reactive Arch’, the first dynamic concave shaped sole that flexes, moving in unison with the natural deformation movement of the transversal arch in the forefoot, favouring the return of stored energy in the direction of movement.
The benefits of this new sole are:
• Stability when planting the foot. During the phase of maximum load the change in inclination of the studs under the forefoot brings an increase in lateral stability, ensuring improved protection of the ankle.
• Maximum cushioning of the impact forces. Reduces trauma due to the impact with the ground that the foot undergoes at every step, returning the energy stored to the direction of movement.
• Reactivity during thrust. Allows the fastest and most effective possible elastic return of the foot, enhancing sports performance to the maximum.
Reactive Arch is currently being used in Lotto’s running, tennis and football range (football starting from A/W 2010).
Twist’n’go is another major innovation in terms of technology. A pivoting stud positioned in the area of the first metatarsal enhances an athlete’s performance and reduces the risk of injury. Thanks to its development, the pivoting stud allows the boot to follow the natural rotational movement made by the player, which in turn makes the player change direction faster and without resistance.
The use of this technology brings important advantages in terms of:
• Speed. The pivoting of Twist’n’go takes place more rapidly than with a traditional stud, thus reducing foot/ground friction and giving an advantage to the player in terms of energy saving and enhancement of sporting performance.
• Prevention. The foot maintains its axis when pivoting and, consequently, movement quality improves, reducing the risk of injury.
• Stability. Compared to the other studs, the pivoting stud has a slightly larger diameter size and thus works like a pin, allowing the contact point to be kept stable and favouring the stability of the player during rotational movements.
How is Lotto performing in the UK?
Lotto is going from strength to strength by concentrating our efforts in two main categories – football and tennis. We have a clear strategy and a very focused approach.
For the past four years we have seen significant growth year on year, even through the current recession. Our bookings for 2010 are already showing that this will be a record year for Lotto in the UK.
Due to its strong design and technology, the initial reaction to the new S/S 2010 tennis collection has been fantastic and has had great exposure from our endorsed players, including Robin Soderling and David Ferrer, as well as in the WTA tour with Francesca Schiavone and Carla Suarez Navarro.
With the World Cup fast approaching, we are very excited about the release of the Lotto Zhero Gravity Ultra, the world’s only laceless football boot, and the Feurzapura football boot collection, which launched in May and gives footballers the best ball control and feel, as well as foot support and reactivity during play.
To what do you owe this success?
Strong brand values with massive heritage in sport, leading-edge technology and quality products. These strengths, combined with a clearly defined distribution strategy of supporting the independent sports retailer, have been very effective.
We believe that concentrating our distribution through specialist retailers who can present the benefits of our products to the end consumer and avoiding distribution through the discount retailers gives the independents some product exclusivity and, therefore, the ability to retain good margins.
Independent retailers have responded well to this strategy and, as a result, we are gaining significant sales and a wider specialist distribution base. We have good relationships with the two main buying groups, Intersport and STAG, and are working with them to improve the benefits to their members.
What are your goals for 2010?
Lotto’s targets are to increase its market share in the UK while still giving great customer service, and to continue producing innovative, technologically advanced products with the best quality.