Unlimited Sports Group (USG), the largest sports retailer in the Netherlands, has consolidated its lead with the acquisition of Time Out Sport, a chain of 46 franchised lifestyle-oriented outlets. The takeover neatly complements the two other retail concepts already owned by USG: Aktiesport, a price-aggressive banner; and Perry Sport, a medium to high-priced retailer specializing in functional products acquired by USG last year.

Time Out Sport was launched in 1999 by Sytse Prins, who had already ran a retail franchise for jeans stores, and by Edward van Dijk, the owner of four sports stores. They have built up a franchise network of 46 stores with an average size of 250 square meters, eight of which were owned in equal shares by the two founders. They have been sold to USG as part of the transaction.

The stated purpose of the sale to USG is to speed up the next phase of Time Out’s development, targeting a network of 75 stores around the country over the coming years. The new franchisees should be recruited chiefly in the Southern and the Western parts of the Netherlands. Time Out Sport used to lean on the payment facilities of Euretco, the second-largest Dutch buying group, but this arrangement should be terminated.

Time Out Sport could be a particularly interesting outlet for some of the brands distributed or licensed by USG’s wholesale division, from Le Coq Sportif to Maui & Sons, Admiral, Cars Footwear and Under Armour. The current mix of sales in Time Out stores is dominated at 60 percent by apparel, against 40 percent for footwear. The two Dutch banners that most closely resemble Time Out Sport, Coach and Sneakers, are both more footwear-oriented.

Adding the Time Out stores, USG will have a network of 221 stores in the Netherlands. Aktie Sport also has two stores in Belgium and 14 in Germany, while Perry Sport closed its only foreign store, local in Antwerp, earlier this year.