08:25 GMT15 April 2021
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    Russia’s biggest manufacturer of automatic and sniper weapons will diversify production to sell branded clothing and accessories.

    According to company marketing director Vladimir Dmitriev, 60 Kalishnikov-branded stores are expected to open in different parts of Russia by the end of this year. The stores will also sell the company's iconic weapons, along with branded fashion items.

    "I worked in the auto industry for many years and I don't understand how come we still don't have our own line of clothes and accessories." Dmitriev told Izvestia newspaper, adding that, "10 percent of the income of such giants as Caterpillar and Ferrari comes from their brand clothing. Kalashnikov is a world brand and we believe, quite reasonably, that both clothes and souvenirs with our logo will be just as popular among our customers as our primary products."

    Dmitriev explained that economic sanctions imposed against Russia have triggered significant changes in the marketing strategy of the famed Russian AK-47 assault-rifle manufacturer. Previously, up to 70% of hunting and sports weapons were aimed at European and US markets. After sanctions were imposed, Kalashnikov turned to domestic hobbyists, increased the share of its civilian products and expanded its field of production. The moves resulted in an estimated $33-million profit for the company in 2015.

    The primary apparel designer for the Kalashnikov-branded clothes and accessories has not been announced. The company plans to introduce its non-military products, along with a new line of weapons, during the "Army-2016" forum in the vicinity of Moscow in September this year.

    "Military style, army theme clothes, is currently very popular around the globe," popular Russian fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev told Izvestia, "If done professionally, I believe it will be a successful business. Especially since Kalashnikov is regarded all over the world as one of the main symbols representing Russia."

    Clothing and weapons would ideally account for some 80% of sales by 2020, the company projects. Remaining sales will come through Kalashnikov's recent purchase of companies that manufacture powered watercraft and surveillance drones.

    Russia's military-style wearables are also popularized through the sale of Russian Army-branded clothes and accessories.

    The brand designs clothes and accessories to promote Russian arms and encourage patriotism in the country. The organization's instantly-recognizable signature red star, split in two halves, is used both as the symbol of the country's armed forces and as a fashion logo.

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    Tags:
    clothes, military, Kalashnikov, Russia
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