Intersport Germany has made a strategic decision to concentrate on fewer brands that can “tell a story” to counter the rapid expansion of Decathlon in its territory. In collaboration with Adidas, it is launching in March an emotional, youth-oriented brand-building campaign around running for German television, to be followed by others in the areas of outdoor and winter sporting goods.

The cooperative, the biggest one within the Intersport International group, is following a “Best in Sports” strategy, installing new services for its affiliated retailers. It has introduced category management, set up a professional customer relationship management system and expanded its warehousing capacity to optimize digital retailing, particularly by offering options such as click-and-collect in 500 stores linked to its omni-channel platform. Its drive-to-store programs have been successful.

Recovering from a small drop in the previous year, Intersport grew by 3 percent in Germany in 2019. Similar growth was recorded in the five-country group led by Intersport Germany, which also includes Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, reaching a total retail turnover of €3.63 billion through more than 1,800 stores. Out of this, €2.94 billion was generated in Germany.

Growing by 4 percent, less rapidly than before, Austrian Intersport retailers achieved a total turnover of around €600 million. With fewer stores, the Czech Republic went up by only 2 percent, while Hungary and Slovakia grew by 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The year 2019 was marked in particular by a snowy January and a strong start to the autumn/winter season in October and November. The good results across all five countries were driven primarily by five categories: outdoor, running, training and winter sports. The four strongest categories all grew significantly: winter sports by 4 percent, outdoor by 6 percent, training by 7 percent and running by the double-digit rate of 10 percent. Cycling grew by 13 percent and racquet sports by 8 percent. The lack of a major sporting event brought the team sport segment down by 11 percent.

As before, Adidas and Nike, in that order, were the biggest brands for Intersport Germany last year. Intersport’s private outdoor brand, McKinley, came in third place. The group wants its retail members to generate 25 percent of their sales with Intersport’s private labels.