Designing Speedo LZR Racer: Speedo's Innovative and Controversial Line of High-end Swimsuits

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER075
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2000-2008
Organization : Speedo International Limited
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : UK; Global
Industry : Elite Swimwear

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction Contd...

The suit compressed the swimmer's body into a streamlined shape and enabled him/her to cut through the water with more dexterity. According to 2008 Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps (Phelps), one of the celebrity endorsers of the Speedo brand, "When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket. I can't wait to race in the new suit, and this is going to take the sport of swimming to a new level."7

Founded in 1914, swimwear manufacturer Speedo was a pioneer in sports fashion wear. The brand was owned by the Pentland Group Plc (Pentland). Speedo had a presence in over 170 countries across the world as of 2008.

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In North America, Speedo products were licensed by apparel company the Warnaco Group Inc.8 For the year 2008, Speedo's worldwide sales were about US$555 million9.

The British iconic brand used the latest technology in designing its competitive swimsuits. The quest for innovation began in the 1920s when Speedo made history with the launch of the Racerback swimsuit, the world's first non-wool suit. Since then, the company had been innovating in the competitive swimsuit market to manufacture suits aimed at enhancing the performance of a swimmer.

In 2008, the Nottingham-based company, with an 80-year history of developing swimsuits for elite swimmers, came out with a new space-age swimsuit known as the LZR Racer swimsuit intended to reduce drag and improve the performance of a swimmer...

Excerpts >>

7] "Speedo "Space Age" Swimsuit Set for Take off,", February 12, 2008.
8] The Warnaco Group, Inc., headquartered in New York, is a leading apparel company engaged in the business of designing, sourcing, marketing and selling fashion wear. Its brands include Warner's, Olga, Lejaby, Rasurel, part of Calvin Klein, Body Nancy Ganz , Catalina, Speedo, and Anne Cole.
9] Keith Naughton, "Making a Splash,", June 30, 2008.

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