Intersport Poland has recently opened its 25th store in Gdynia near Gdansk. It is the sixth opening this year. The additional store in the north of the country is another move to overcome the company’s traditional focus on the southern part of Poland. Altogether Intersport now has a total selling surface of around 28,000 square meters in the country. The selling surface of the shops basically varies from 800 to 1,500 square meters, but there are also two stores larger than 2,000 square meters in Warsaw and Lodz.

Due to its history as a rather southern chain, Intersport Poland has a strong offer of skis and snowsport equipment and is also particulary strong in cycles. Winter has started out to be promising; the temperatures have been satisfactory in the past few days and bode well for the upcoming season. Sources say that the chain might make slightly more than €50 million in sales this year, depending mainly on the weather conditions until New Year’s Eve. Sales grew by 38 percent in the first nine month of 2008.

Klaus Jost, general manager of Intersport Deutschland and member of the Polish company’s supervisory board, told SGI Europe that the former No. 3 in the market is now probably at the same level as the two French big players Décathlon and Go Sport, which are supposed to have slowed down recently. There are no precise figures on the size of the Polish sporting goods market at hand, but it might be €250 million as far as specialty sports retail is concerned, or pretty much at the same level as in 2005. While the big three together make an estimated €150 million in retail sales, an additional €50 million might be made by single-brand stores operated by the vendors and/or their local distributors. All other specialty retailers might make some other €50 million.

Sport 2000 has not entered the Polish market yet. The license for the region is owned by Sport 2000 Austria which, for the time being, concentrates on the home market as well as on its operations in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Jost says that the total sporting goods market is a great deal larger and could be up to €500 million. The top Intersport manager emphasizes, however, that it is almost impossible to evaluate the volume and market shares of open markets, hypermarkets and other distribution channels.

For the time being, Intersport targets local cities with populations of at least 100,000. The company was founded in 1989 as Maks Sport and renamed Intersport Polska in 2005 when the German Intersport, the licensor for Poland, acquired a 25 percent stake in Maks. All other shares are held by the four founders and current members of the executive board, excluding the shares that are traded on the stock exchange. In 2004, the company had nearly €15 million in sales.