Amply profiled in our report on the Austrian and Swiss markets, Intersport Austria outperformed the growth of its domestic market and grew very strongly in Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary and Slovakia, in the financial year ended last Sept. 30.

In Austria alone, where the sporting goods market was expected by the important RegioPlan consultancy to grow by only 1 percent in 2009, the retail sales of its affiliated members increased by 3.6 percent in the 12 months ended last September, reaching €546.3 million. Led by ski helmets, goggles and other types of products, winter sports equipment grew by double digits.

The growth rate jumped to 10 percent in the last quarter of 2009, thanks in part to the good snowfall. Similarly, the quarterly growth increased to 4 percent in the Czech Republic, by 65 percent in Slovakia and by 17 percent in Hungary.

During the past financial year, the affiliated stores experienced sales increases of 13 percent in alpine skis, 16 percent in snowboards, 21 percent in touring ski, 10 percent in cross-country skis and 10 percent in ice skates. Sales of outdoor products jumped by 17 percent. Running and funwheel sports went up by 12 and 11 percent, respectively. Conversely, sales of team sports products fell by 8 percent due to a tough comparison with the previous year, which was marked by the European Football Championships in Austria and Switzerland.

In the relatively tough Czech market, the affiliated retailers’ sales increased by 3.0 percent to €43.3 million, but better scores were achieved in two other markets for which the company has the Intersport license. In Slovakia, retail sales increased by 45.9 percent to €16.7 million. In Hungary, they went up by 26.5 percent to €15.5 million.

The slow progress in the Czech Republic can be attributed to the fact that the number of affiliated stores in that country remained stable at 34 doors in the course of the last financial year. In Austria, the number of stores grew from 319 to 332. The numbers evolved from eight to 12 stores in Slovakia and from 11 to 14 doors in Hungary. The total door count for Intersport Austria went up from 319 to 332 stores, and their total surface rose from 210,000 to 269,700 square meters.

At least seven more stores will join the Intersport network in the territory by the end of 2010 including a new 2,000-m² store in Innsbruck’s new Kaufhaus Tyrol and three other Austrian locations. Two others will open in Slovakia and one in Hungary.