‘Adapt and Survive’ video series: Sam Gerber, Skross

By Andrew Pentol |

Sam Gerber, Adapt & Survive image smallSkross Managing partner Sam Gerber has revealed the company is continuing to innovate so it is in pole position to capitalise once the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic begins.

Gerber, who also holds the position of Vice President Corporate, Tax Free World Association, is the second interviewee in this publication’s new ‘Adapt & Survive’ Skype video interview series. The first video featured Peter Mohn, CEO, m1nd-set.

“A majority of our business is driven by innovation from the technology sector,” he remarked. “We have heard that Apple, for example, is launching new iPads and MacBooks. The world is never going to stop, which is why is we are continuing to innovate our products.”

The Swiss company is currently working on a number of new products which are ‘on the launch ramp’ for May or June. “We are readying these products and continuing our innovation pipeline. We are, however, quite anxious to discover when we can push these innovations in front of the stores.

“Ideally, this will happen around June or July, so the new items can make an impact during the summer season. We are also working on the next batch of launches for later this year. The innovation pipeline never stops.”

Regarding the ‘unprecedented impact’ of the pandemic on the company’s DF&TR business, he remarked: “A majority of our business is travel retail. I would say we are probably around 80% or 90% affected at present.”

The team at Skross have also been forced to adapt to a new work routine. “We are now in our second week of confinement and continuing to work from home. Nobody really knows how long this last.”

Established in 2001, a year before the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, Gerber prefers to compare the general impact of the current crisis to the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“SARS did not really have a huge impact on us specifically. Our company was pretty new at the time. I guess, however, it did affect the Asia Pacific side of the business. There was not much impact on the European part [of the business], especially in electronics.

“I would rather compare the current crisis to 9/11 because of the halt in take-offs, grounding of flights and increased security. I have had a few flashbacks of recent flight experiences which looked more like a 9/11 scenario than a consequence of SARS.”

Looking ahead to the start of the recovery, whenever that might be, Gerber insists maintaining contact with direct partners and retailers is the main priority.  “We are obviously preparing for the re-bound and talking about possible scenarios in terms of time, promotions we want to run and products we want to highlight. The uncertainty in terms of timing, however, leaves us a little in the dark.

“In the meantime, everyone is communicating more frequently on a personal and more emotional level than previously to keep the channel open and ensure everyone is listening and talking.”

 

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