Head to Head
How has Unicorn performed over the last 12 months?
There remains a great deal of caution and conservatism in terms of retailers buying and consumers spending. Having said that, our figures for the month of June 2010 are the best the company has had in its existence for booking orders. We have not let anyone go and we have continued to invest heavily in the infrastructure of the business for Unicorn Darts, Gunn & Moore Cricket and PowerGlide Billiards and Snooker, with cricket bat production up by 43% on last year’s sales, which is a sensational achievement.
How has darts as a sport fared in the recession?
Darts is so much in tune with our time and continues to be an extremely popular and populist sport. It’s now internationally televised with prize money at around £7-8 million for professional players. In this current austere economic climate, the game’s a perfect match for people’s disposable incomes.
Fundamentally a set of darts, a board and 7 feet 91
⁄4 inches of
space is all that’s needed, for as little as £10 at entry level.
You re-launched your website last year. Has that been a success? Our new
website is based on a
At the sharp end “
Ladies get a raw deal
in terms of exposure and funding compared to the male game, and together with the PDC, we are aiming to address this by setting up professional events with proper prize money
new technological platform with greater interactivity. It’s good-looking, easy to navigate and has lots of relevant and interesting information. We’ve introduced
Unicorn TV, Uniscore, and the unique Unilab, written by one of the leading authorities on flight dynamics, which answers questions about technique and play characteristics. Even our professional players use Unilab to tweak and adjust their darts.
What products are selling well in particular?
There is a huge demand for our Authentic Range and our technical Sigma Collection. People are fascinated by the possibility of improving their game. Our Core collection is also hugely important for no-nonsense value.
What can we look forward to from the new catalogue?
Feel the power: Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, the greatest darts player of them all
July 14 sees the launch of the 36th edition of the Unicorn Book of Darts and there are some fabulous products, including new finishes on the latest Phil Taylor Phase 5 Rosso, the dart used by Phil when he achieved an incredible two 9- darters in the recent Premier League finals. Following feedback from the Sigma programme
18 SGB SPORT JULY 2010
for an integrated dart with a longer barrel, the new Sigma collection will see Sigma XL Pro and Super Pro. These are extraordinary darts with a 95% tungsten nickel alloy barrel, magnesium alloy dart shaft, and a titanium nose cone in the front of the dart. They are aerodynamically
integrated darts capable of supreme accuracy in the right hands, and we are very excited about this range.
How are you incorporating Phil Taylor into your marketing over the coming year?
Phil Taylor continues to be our front man and is a magnificent ambassador for the company, the country and the sport of darts. We have a whole section of the catalogue devoted to the Evolution of the Power. He continues to feature prominently on television wearing and using Unicorn equipment and branding and he is tireless in his exhibitions and personal appearances around the country.
Where are the growth markets for Unicorn currently?
Ladies and youth darts are gaining input and the PDC, in conjunction with Unicorn, is sponsoring the Ladies World Championship, which takes place in Blackpool this month, and the Youth World Championships in January 2011. Ladies get a raw deal in terms of exposure and funding compared to the male game, and together with the PDC, we are aiming to address this by setting up professional events with proper prize money. Both the women’s game and the youth game are going to be big beneficiaries in the next two or three years.
The Unicorn brand is in good shape and in terms of overseas sales, we are seeing a rising interest in darts in the Far East.
Ready to launch: Unicorn’s new Sigma XL Super Pro features in the 36th Unicorn Book of Darts, out July 14
With darts enjoying increasing global popularity, Yvonne Holberton spoke to Edward Lowy (pictured), managing director of Unicorn, to find out how the British company is maintaining its cutting edge
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