The new owner of Himi's Jeans, CTC Sportswear, is enthusiastic about the potential of the Slovak market. "I've got a good gut feeling about Slovakia," said Yonathan Dakar Himi, General Manager for Slovakia for CTC Sportswear. "Young people here are no longer so limited by what they can afford - they are now looking for higher quality merchandise, and they have a stronger fashion sense."
Himi is the former owner of the family business Himi's Jeans, a fixture on Bratislava's Obchodná ulica and around the country. Having been around since 1992, he has witnessed some fundamental changes in customer behavior. "In the beginning, people always looked first at price and only then at the merchandise," he said. "I'm not saying this has entirely changed, but people are now more able to purchase quality."
Patrick Uram, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, agreed. "Buyers in Slovakia have become much more savvy, more willing to buy name-brand products," he said. "But this is happening everywhere in central Europe, as purchasing power increases and customers become more aware of fashion trends in other parts of the world. These trends have certainly had an impact on customer behavior."
This changed behavior can do nothing but please Himi. Approached last year by Kenvelo Corporation, a Prague-based division of CTC Sportswear, he now can sell quality goods for quality prices. "We both wanted and felt we needed a change, because from our beginnings in 1992, we had cheap and lower quality merchandise, but with Kenvelo we were able to improve everything - our production, quality and image."
Thanks to the merger, CTC Sportswear acquired 9 outlets across the country, all operating under the Kenvelo name and undergoing renovation and reconstruction. "All stores will be getting a kind of facelift," he said, "and should be ready to open by the beginning of 1998."
4. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson