The Swiss licensee of the banner, Intersport PSC, has formed a unit of retail members who will commit to providing a comprehensive offer of outdoor products to their customers. Intersport supports them with a variety of marketing tools, for example with a custom-made flier that mainly promotes the individual shop.

The original plan was to rally 30-50 retailers with a strong standing in the outdoor segment, and already 43 are starting up during the current spring season. According to the management, their number is not as important as the fact that they should have a high profile, which is what apparently matters in the competitive Swiss outdoor market.

Pursuing a strategy already followed by Intersport and other buying groups in some countries, Intersport PSC would like to see other retail members concentrating on other segments such as running or alpine ski in the next three years, further supporting its positioning in the premium segment of the market.

As previously reported, Intersport PSC is also running after the rather underserved low-price segment of the Swiss market through Budget Sport, which it launched on March 30. This very different business model is being implemented through a separate company with its own team, which is discussing franchising contracts with potential retail partners.

Intersport PSC has reported a net profit of 1,227,000 Swiss francs (€1.0m-$1.5m) for the six months ended March 31, up sharply from CHF 439,000 a year ago, when the results were affected by bad debt because of a former retail member. Gross profit increased by 56.1 percent to CHF 8.3 million (€6.8m-$9.9m), and the operating margin (Ebit) moved up to 1.1 percent of the group's revenues from 0.3 percent in the year-ago period.

The group's net revenues dropped by 5.3 percent to CHF 171.1 million (€140.0m-$204.7m), with a 5.9 percent decrease in centralized settlements to CHF 155.7 million (€127.4m-$186.3m), mainly due to a clean-up of relations with the brands and the franchisees. Because of the weather, the affiliated retailers booked higher sales in the last three months of 2010 but saw a decline in the first part of the new year.