Fourlis, the Greek holding company that runs 121 Intersport and The Athlete's Foot stores in Greece, Turkey and several other countries, raised the sales of its sporting goods segment by 5.6 percent €136.5 million last year, albeit with a drop in pre-tax profit.  The sporting goods retail business delivered operating profit (Ebitda) of €11.9 million for the year, up from €10.9 million, but the pre-tax profit landed at €2.3 million, down from €2.8 million the previous year.

The group had 113 Intersport stores at the end of last year, an increase compared with 106 at the end of 2015. The latest year-end tally consisted of 48 stores in Greece, 31 in Romania, 23 in Turkey, seven in Bulgaria and four in Cyprus, along with online stores in Greece and Romania. The group also runs six stores trading as The Athlete's Foot (TAF) in Greece and two in Turkey, both of them in Istanbul.

The group added one store in Greece during the year, in Heraklion, three in Romania, two in Bulgaria and one in Turkey, in Adana. The eight TAF stores include two that were opened last year in Greece, in Larissa and Agia Paraskevi of Attica.

Fourlis opened a new logistical center for Intersport in Greece in the second half of 2015, with automated systems for warehousing and order fulfillment, which will gradually serve all companies in the group's sports goods business.

Fourlis anticipates that the retail market will remain under pressure in Greece this year, due to sizeable unemployment rates and high taxation, as well as the weakness of the banking system in providing capital for fresh investments. However, it wants to continue investing in sporting goods retailing, where it has identified opportunities that may be implemented with current funding abilities. Fourlis also aims to gain synergies from scale and the completion of warehouse and distribution services for all of the group's companies.

The Greek company expects to open four more Intersport stores in unspecified locations this year, along with an online store in Cyprus and four TAF stores. This means the group should end the year with 117 Intersport stores and 12 TAF stores, and online stores in three countries.

The Fourlis group also has a furniture and household goods segment that runs seven Ikea stores in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria, along with pick-up points for Ikea furniture. The whole group saw its sales increase to €428.1 million, with an increase of nearly 18 percent in Ebitda to €38.4 million and pre-tax profit of €7.7 million, up from €2.5 million in 2015.