Industry: News On the wing
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Columbia Sportswear has claimed Gore has been ‘exclusionary’ with it business practices related to waterproof, breathable footwear, a claim which Gore says is ‘without merit’.
Prostar is working with Mitre to regain some of the ground it lost with retailers over the last decade (see p28 for in- depth coverage).
Head offered tennis fans an opportunity to get close to tennis player Andy Murray during last month’s Wimbledon tennis championship through its Facebook fan page.
AYAMi works to make women beautiful A
sics’ new women’s running range AYAMi has been developed to ‘redefine beauty’ and help retailers attract a new group of female customers into retail stores, the sports brand said.
Liz Austen, product manager at Asics, said AYAMi is a Japanese term that means femininity, colour and beauty, with the latter being a particularly important focus for the range.
“It is a performance driven yet fashion- orientated range that offers elements, such as technical fabrics that work with the runner and are easy to wear,” said Austen. The AYAMi range includes various tops, shorts, jackets and other garments, all of which are available in a variety of bright colours, which Austen said is a growing trend in the market.
There are seamless garments, a top with hood that can be worn eight different ways and long tights with a woven waistband that offer tummy control. The range can also be worn in a variety of combinations thanks to a multilayering design ethos, which Austen said is another trend in the market.
She said: “It’s about redefining beauty and offering something to women who want to look good but need performance clothing. Multilayering is a concept that has been integrated into the AYAMi range. It is a fashion trend that we have responded to.”
AYAMi has been exclusively available in the Asics London store for around six months, and will go into selected Sweatshop stores in time for autumn/winter 2011. It will then become available to independent retailers in time for spring/summer 2012.
Austen said AYAMi will appeal to retailers’ existing customers and attract new business. It has been launched in partnership with Sweatshop as the retailer provided adequate merchandising space to help establish interest in AYAMi and boost its impact on the market. “It will be sold into independent retailers that attract the right kind of customers, which will allow them to grow sales both to their existing base and to new female runners coming into their store.”
1000 Mile Sportswear has introduced a new range of accessories, its second own- brand line, with products suited to runners.
Premier League new boys Swansea City will wear Adidas kit, exactly as they did the last time they played top flight football in the early 1980s.
SMMEX 2012 has confirmed next year’s show date as March 5, 2012, and launched a new-look website.
Rugby ‘riding recession’ O
fficial licensed rugby products are riding the recession due to the more affluent nature of the sport’s supporters, providing independent retailers with the opportunity to cash-in according to the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU’s) head of retail.
Andy Ward said rugby is lucky in that its supporters tend to be more affluent than other teamsports, and have more expendable cash.
He said the retail market is tough across the board though, and that rugby consumers are consciously looking for quality products that offer something different.
For him, official licensed products are central to meeting this demand, especially with a World Cup coming up later this year. Ward said: “For retail, a World Cup means being able to target supporters outside the usual fan base. The Rugby World Cup is the third most watched event on TV behind the football World Cup and the Olympics.”
With the event being held in New Zealand, Ward conceded that converting support to sales may prove an issue. However the 2015 Rugby World Cup coming to England will provide ample opportunities to make up for it. “Being in New Zealand means it may be difficult to engage with consumers. The 2015 event will give us the opportunity to extend our licensing operations.
“The challenge will be to make sure retailers understand the value in stocking official licensed merchandise over generic products. Buyers always look at the margins, and the margins are generally better with generic products as consumers are more inclined to buy those at a cheaper price. “But there is an opportunity for brave retailers to become official merchandise suppliers and generate a premium on licensed goods. Some say that’s not possible, but we’ve shown it is as more and more consumers are looking to buy quality products.”
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