Intersport Deutschland estimates that it gained market share last year as its members reported retail sales of €2.94 billion in Germany. That was a comparable sales increase of just 1 percent, but it compares with a market estimate from GfK that the German retail market moved up no more than 0.5 percent to €7.46 billion.

Intersport Deutschland reported sales increases of 18 percent for fitness, 15 percent for winter sports, 4 percent for outdoor and 5 percent for bike and fun wheel sports. On the other hand, sales were down by 2 percent for running and walking, 5 percent for racquet sports, 3 percent for water sports and 14 percent for team sports – chiefly due to the lack of international football tournaments in 2017. 

The absence of a summer football tournament last year contributed to sales declines of 5 percent in June and 2 percent in July, and the turnover of the Intersport members in Germany fell even more steeply in March and October. This was more than compensated with increases of 9 percent in April, 8 percent in September and 13 percent in December. 

The autumn/winter season from September to December generated a sales increase of 5 percent. However, Intersport Deutschland indicated that the gains achieved in the winter sports category in December were followed by a decline in January. The winter sports business thus generated a decline of 2 percent in the season from September to Jan. 21. 

Yet still, the management of Intersport Deutschland is targeting a sales increase of 2 to 3 percent in retail sales for the full year, owing to the strong exposure of winter sports during the Olympics in PyeongChang, as well as the football World Cup taking place in Russia this year, which could raise team sports sales by up to 15 percent for the year.

At a press conference at Ispo Munich, Intersport Deutschland outlined the progress of the efforts intensified last year to transform the buying group into an omni-channel retail platform. More than 65 Intersport stores have joined a cooperative platform that should help the group to fulfill digital orders – they are pooling their stock to make sure that the required products are available for immediate orders.

Kim Roether, chief executive of Intersport Deutschland, said he anticipates that over 200 stores will be on the platform at the end of this year. Other initiatives to take more advantage of Intersport's scale in terms of data, services and logistics will continue to be in focus this year. The group had 915 members with 1,489 stores in Germany at the end of September 2017, compared with 939 members and 1,482 stores one year earlier, suggesting increased concentration.

The group has also been investing in Intersport's branding and striving to update its retail concept, including the opening of three Future Stores in Berlin. Roether said that the group would evaluate the financial performance of the concept in June. The latest Intersport concept, which puts more emphasis on category management, is to be adopted by several more stores later this year. 

Intersport performed more strongly in Austria, where sales jumped by 17 percent to €0.53 billion, with a comparable sales rise of 15 percent. It had 295 stores in Austria at the end of the year, up from 285 stores, while the number of members remained unchanged at 110. 

Austrian sales were up throughout the year apart from March, with particular ample rises in April and in the winter. The turnover of Intersport's Austrian stores soared by 25 percent in November and by 32 percent in December, buoyed by the favorable weather conditions. The organization could not provide comparisons with the entire Austrian market, but the buying group shared an estimate from RegioPlan and KMU that the market amounted to €2.6 billion in 2016.

Intersport estimates that it became the leading player in the Austrian market last year, after the opening of 26 stores in the last two years as well as sizeable organic growth. It undoubtedly benefitted from the issues encountered by Sports Direct as it moved into the market after its acquisition of Sport Eybl, but the management at Intersport Deutschland said the uptick had also been driven by the “best in town” strategy, to establish Intersport as the strongest retailer in each Austrian location. 

The retail organization further reported a sales increase of 4 percent in the Czech Republic, where its members have 33 stores. Sales were up by 6 percent in Slovakia with 32 stores and by 12 percent in Hungary with 13 stores. Intersport Austria reported a turnover of more than €630 million, combining sales in Austria and the three other markets under its supervision.

As previously reported, the minority stake held indirectly by Intersport Germany in Intersport Polska was reduced after a capital increase last year, and the Polish operation became an independent Intersport licensee in March. This meant that Intersport Polska could start ordering its own products but the company pointed out that, due to the delays in getting the products in store, the changes only started to become clear in the retail assortment in September.

Intersport Polska reported in October that its sales were down by 16.0 percent to 132.8 million zlotys (€31.7m-$38.8m) for the first nine months of the year. The retailer's gross loss widened to nearly PLN 7.5 million (€1.8m-$2.2m) for the period, compared with PLN 1.1 million for the same nine months in 2016. But Intersport Polska's performance improved markedly in the fourth quarter, as it reported that its sales moved up by 20.7 percent in comparable terms in the fourth quarter. That amounted to an increase of 6.2 percent in reported terms to PLN 50.0 million (€11.9m-$14.6m) for the three months.

The ranking of the ten leading suppliers for Intersport in Germany remained broadly unchanged, topped by Adidas, Nike and the Amer Sports group. The only change in the top ten was that CMP and Lowa swapped rankings, with CMP ending fifth ahead of Lowa. Among the risers further down the list were Under Armour, Garmin and On. The Salewa Group, Odlo, the Mammut Sport Group, Reebok, the K2 Group, Fischer, Converse and Uvex/Alpine all moved at least two spots down the ranking but remained among the top 30 suppliers for Intersport.