A buying group is not only meant to offer better purchasing conditions and access to exclusive products, or as a marketing tool around an easily recognizable banner. The German Sport 2000 group is now proposing to its members to devote more of their time to the job of selling the products in their stores and to carry fewer brands and more exclusive items from a streamlined international private label program.

Under a new efficiency program laid out for the benefit of present and future members, the share of exclusive brands in the affiliated stores is set to reach a level of 15 percent of their sales, up from the current level of 8 percent.

A special focus will be put on the outdoor brand High Colorado for which the headquarters wants to provide shop-in-shop systems by 2008. In return, the number of exclusive brands will be reduced from eight to five – not only in Germany, but also in the other countries where Sport 2000 International has a presence. By the end of 2007, only High Colorado, York (running, walking), Powerplay (team sports), Stuf (young fashion) and V3Tech (ski and other types of equipment) will continue to exist. The Dynamics brand will be dropped, while two others were never adopted in the end.

Sport 2000 is also asking its dealers to put more focus on the leading 50 vendors that are centrally invoiced by the group. A newly created program, called “V+5” (v like victory), rewards the retail members with an improved margin of 5 percent if they concentrate their purchase on leading brands.

These changes in purchasing are meant to save more of the dealer’s time. According to Sport 2000, its members invest on average 30 days per annum on the purchasing function, but this amount of time should be cut in half to only 15 days. To help accomplish this, the German group, which is based in Mainhausen, plans to cut back the number of its in-house buying days from six to four selected dates in January, March, July, and August. Each show will run from Saturday to Wednesday and host up to 30 vendors.

Sport 2000 is also offering to its members new means of customizing their own advertising materials, while projecting a higher-end image for the German buying group. This is based on recent studies showing that the number of price-conscious customers for sports apparel and equipment declined by some 10 percent in Germany between 2003 and 2005, while the number of brand-conscious customers increased by 8 percent for equipment and by 2 percent for sports apparel.