Reporting growth of 8 percent in retail sales to €4.94 billion including VAT across Europe in 2019, driven by Germany, Sport 2000 International is working on creating a more integrated, vertically oriented retail service organization with a strong international brand, offering new and flexible ways to approach consumers.

The international expansion of the Absolute concept inaugurated in Germany will be part of the process. Aside from the first Absolute Teamsport store in Austria (see the related story in this issue), others are in the pipeline in Austria as well as Switzerland. The first Absolute Run store in the United Arab Emirates is due to be opened in Dubai next month and one will soon open in Italy. A first Absolute Outdoor store should see the light at a still undisclosed location in April.

Meanwhile, the managing directors of the national buying groups are holding joint workshops in six strategic action areas – branding, formats, product ranges & never out of stock (NOS) items, supply chain management, data and omni-channel retailing. They are studying together what the changing consumer wants and how to communicate with the consumer.

Led by Margit Grosau, Sport 2000 International is also working on further international expansion and licensing, although nothing concrete is yet in the pipeline, and on private label, which should not exceed 5 percent of the retailers’ turnover, privileging the cooperation with the existing sports brands.

Sport 2000 International federates a total of 2,250 retailers in 23 countries. Together, they manage a total of 3,950 stores, up from 3,555 a year ago.

In particular, Sport 2000 GmbH, which groups the Sport 2000 organizations steered by the ANWR Group in Germany, the Benelux countries and Switzerland, represents 1,940 points of sale whose turnover grew in the past year by 11 percent to €2.68 billion, thanks in part to their more specialist approach. The retailers are very specialized in football and other team sports in Belgium and the Netherlands, where the digitalization process is very developed. In Switzerland, a group of dealers focuses on high-quality brands and products.

In Germany alone, the group’s retail sales jumped by 12 percent in 2019, reaching €2.26 billion, largely through the expansion of the store network from 1,491 to 1,555 doors. On a comparable store basis, they went up by 3.7 percent. About half of all the retail stores specialize mainly in outdoor, team sports or running. Only 10 percent are e-tailers or can be regarded as key accounts.

Sales in the outdoor segment, which is the biggest one for Sport 2000 in Germany, went up by 1.0 percent last year, in line with the market. Sales grew by 2.0 percent in team sports, by 5.1 percent in winter sports, by 5.7 percent in running and by 6.7 percent in fitness and the multi-sport segment.

Nike is still reluctant to work with Sport 2000 on an international basis, but the brand is working closely with the banner in Germany and it scored number one for the first time in the ranking of the 20 major suppliers, replacing Adidas, which came in second place, followed by Puma.