Munich After the change of boss Adidas Intersport dealers in Germany are hoping for good business with the world’s second largest sporting goods manufacturer. “The new leadership is definitely trade-oriented, and we’re very grateful for that,” Frank Geisler, the dealer association’s chief operating officer, said Wednesday. Adidas is an important strategic partner.
Former Adidas boss Kasper Rorsted had focused heavily on expanding his own online stores. During the pandemic, some of the company’s own sales channels received preferential treatment, which pushed many specialty retailers away. His successor, Björn Gulden, who took over at the start of the year, had already prioritized specialist retail as head of Puma, and in some cases also given up on margins.
Investors are trusting Gulden to find the middle ground in his new job – and proven strategies from cougar modified to apply Adidas terms. Thomas Yokel, portfolio manager at Union Investment, said it would be possible to win back disgruntled dealers without giving up progress in e-commerce. “I believe Mr. Goulden will make the right decision here.”
Intersport achieved record sales of 3.3 billion euros
At Intersport, Adidas was the most important brand in the past financial year, ahead of Nike and McKinley’s own brand. To strengthen its position, Intersport agreed on the so-called single account model with Adidas in 2022. Therefore, the group orders centrally and stores Adidas products in its own warehouses. Hundreds of dealers have previously ordered individually. “This is how we ensure our relevance at Adidas,” Geisler said.
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Intersport has 463 locations under its own brand and a total of around 1,700 points of sale. Foreign sales rose 25 percent to a record €3.3 billion in the 2021/22 financial year, which ended on September 30. Thus, the association was 14 percent above the value before the outbreak of the pandemic. “We came out of the crisis much stronger than we went in,” said Intersport boss Alexander von Preen.
More recently, the group has seen a trend back in business. “Customers are again increasingly buying from local merchants,” Geisler said. Intersport’s online sales even fell in the past financial year as scarce goods were prioritized over in-store supplies. However, the share of e-commerce is expected to increase again in the coming years.
The sports boom continues even after the peak of the pandemic
The head of Intersport von Preen is convinced that the sports boom will continue even after the pandemic. The market in Germany can grow by three to five percent in the coming years, Intersport wants to be above that.
Recently, however, there have been reports of overstocked warehouses in the industry. As goods were temporarily scarce during the pandemic due to logistics and production issues, some retailers ordered more to be safe – and are now sitting on the goods. The situation is certainly not critical, Intersport manager Geisler said. There are not many seasonal goods in warehouses that need to move quickly.
Sports retail in Germany is highly competitive. French discounter Decathlon has announced that it intends to double its sales in Germany to 2.5 billion euros by 2026. In addition, dealer associations dominate. Sport2000 dealers focused early on specializing in modern sports such as running and mountaineering and achieved record sales of €3.31 billion last year.
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