HI-TEC SPORTS was founded in 1974 in the appropriately named village of Shoeburyness, in Essex, England. Our original success grew from the breakthrough design and development of Hi-Tec's first ever shoe, THE HI-TEC SQUASH, specifically designed for the then fast growing game of squash. An industry benchmark then and now, few shoes in athletic footwear history have recorded unit sales of over 18 million pairs worldwide to date. The Hi-Tec Squash remains Britain's all time best selling sports shoe model to this day.
It was not until 1982 that the Hi-Tec brand name and logo were globally launched as a result of our decision to become a major worldwide sports brand. The innovative, successful global development of our brand became a casebook study at the Harvard Business School. Today we are proud to report that there are over 500 Hi-Tec styles being commercialised throughout 80 countries world-wide, under the Hi-Tec Outdoor, Hi-Tec Court, Hi-Tec Golf, Hi-Tec Sport, Urban collections and Magnum brands. A whole family of great products for sports and footwear enthusiasts.
In the United Kingdom our commercial strategy has consistently been to focus on the mid-price market segment, and as a result Hi-Tec has secured wide and varied distribution to include both sportswear retailers and general "high-street" shoe shops. This aggressive distribution orientation has positioned Hi-Tec as one of the four unit volume leaders throughout the UK sports shoe market consistently over the last ten years.
As a result of these early successes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and in order to provide funds for expansion into international markets, Hi-Tec Sports was floated on the London Stock Exchange in June 1988, and in January 1992 successfully returned to the market by way of a rights-issue, which served to generate additional working capital for further global expansion. By the end of the 1990s, Hi-Tec Sports was a truly global, successful brand and Company. In 2000, our Chairman, Founder and then-majority shareholder, Frank van Wezel, bought back the company from the markets, thus once again making us privately owned and managed.
The company currently employs approximately 500 employees and generates global sales of more than US $250 million. And the best is yet to come!