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Southern Africa’s business-to-business magazine for the sport, outdoor and leisure industries • Vol 40 No 1 • Q1 2019

Kitting out the hiker Nike shock for independents Team sport balls and grassroots growth

Vol 40 Nr1 Q1 2019


On the cover The hunting market is booming and the demand for camouflage clothing with it. Wildebees, locally distributed by Crown Footwear, is a leading brand in this category. “Wildebees is not here to play safe — you can’t tame it! Embrace it,” says the developer of this brand. “All men are born equal, but some men are born more wild.” Wildebees is not merely a trade mark, “but a challenge to every man to be true to his creator, to be wild — without making excuses.” For trade enquiries and to hear more about this exciting range contact Crown Footwear on 031 700 1601. Publisher: Nicol du Toit Editor: Carin Hardisty Managing editor: Trudi du Toit Features: Carin Hardisty, Trudi du Toit Design: Carin Hardisty, Trudi du Toit Photography: Nicol du Toit Advertising: Nicol du Toit Subscriptions: Carin Hardisty Printing: Novus Print Distribution: InsideData Sports Trader is published quarterly by Rocklands Communications cc. Reg. No: 1997/057165/23. Members: N. J. & G. C. du Toit & C. Hardisty

Contact details:

PO Box 12197 Mill Street 8010 22 Rocklands Avenue, Vredehoek, Cape Town 8001 Tel: 021 461 2544 Fax: 021 461 2549 Website: Facebook: SportsTraderMagazine Twitter: @SASportsTrader Blog: Advertising: Editorial: Subscribe: Publication information: The title and contents of Sports Trader are protected by copyright. It is a business to business publication compiled to inform, entertain and educate retailers, distributors and manufacturers of sports and outdoor equipment, footwear and clothing. It is available only to members of the sport, outdoor and activewear industries and is published quarterly. © Rocklands Communications.

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People on the move


News about people in the industry.

Team balls and replica unpacked

Brands on the move

What to stock for hikers

News about brand activity in the industry.

Nike drops independents

Companies on the move

Holiday sales NOT so bad

News about companies in the industry.


10 12 20 22 23

Grasshoppers supports community The Grasshopper factory supports thousands through job creation opportunities.

Skechers on the growth path

Skechers has had a wonderful growth over the past years and now needs to expand its premises.

Business change world for better Business should create a positive impact beyond profit.

Innovation keeps you ahead


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Team balls are good sales options Local distributors have affordable balls for sports such as rugby, netball, soccer and volleyball.

Official balls from local distributors Brands available locally are the official balls for top associations and also offer replicas here.

Netball on a growth path

With more than 2-m registered players netball is by far the biggest women’s sport in SA.

Companies that are ahead of their peers see innovation as a means to their end goal.

Holiday sales

We ask retailers how they experienced the December and January trading period.

Apparel and footwear

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Big brands vs independents

Big brands such as Nike are officially dropping independents, refusing to sell to them.

Brands respond to independents

We hear from brands what their reasoning is.

2020 apparel and footwear trends

Everyone wants to know what future trends hold for us — here are predictions for 2020.

Technology drives innovation

Wearables have interesting features such as being able to check for AFib and improve brain activity.



Kitting out a hiker

New products aimed at hikers that are available from suppliers

Netball is one of the fastest growing sporting activities in South Africa. p34

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Good news for tennis

Juniors qualify for Grand Slam and train overseas, and a new ITF tournament: the future for SA tennis is looking promising.

Is school cricket recovering?

It might be early days yet, but it would appear that interest in cricket is being rekindled at schools level

Trade shows


ISPO Awards the best of the best

100s of products are entered to win an ISPO Award and, in the process, show they are the most innovative in their field.

48 48 IBC

eSports and digitalization

ISPO Munich promotes eSports and digitization

Innovative NEW products awarded The ISPO BrandNew award honours top products from new companies.

There is a variety of new products aimed at hikers. p26

Event and trade show news

News from local and international events and trade shows.

p2 :: Industry

Fila shocked by sudden death of leader Laurence SLotSky of 1721 Distributors, the South African distributor of Fila, has expressed his sadness by the sudden passing of Jon Epstein, president of Fila North America and global chief commercial officer. “He was a great friend and mentor to us all,” says Slotsky. The unexpectedness of Epstein’s death, a week after he had undergone heart surgery, had come as a shock for many at Fila. He was 63 years old. COO Jennifer Estabrook has been appointed as the acting president of Fila North America. She is also manager of Fila Luxembourg, and had joined the company in 2005. Epstein had contributed to two important eras in Fila’s history, reports the publication FN News. These were in the brand’s heydays in the 1980’s and also when he stepped in to grow the North American business. He agreed to return and run the declining North American business in 2007, after having served as Fila’s president and CEO from 1998 to 2003. As North American president he returned the company to profitability, and established retail and brand partnerships with brand leaders like Fendi, Urban Outfitters and Barneys New York. Last year, the brand’s classic Disruptor 2 sneaker became a global hit, winning the coveted FN title of Shoe of the Year. He was also in charge when Fila signed NBA legend Grant Hill — the face of its basketball business in the ’90s — to a lifetime deal. “In Jon Epstein, FILA has lost a great friend, leader, and champion of the brand, not just in the US, but worldwide,” said Gene Yoon, Chairman of FILA. “His entrepreneurial spirit was a perfect match for our vision of growth, and his passion for both our heritage of authenticity and our potential as a brand innovator drove FILA’s resurgence over the past decade. “Jon and I worked together for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Carol, have been like family to me. His presence in the Fila family and in my personal life is impossible to quantify. I have lost a trusted ally and lifelong friend.” Before he joined Fila, Epstein worked for adidas America in a variety of roles, including national sales manager, for more than 21 years. During this period the brand’s American business revenue grew from $190-m to more than $1-bn. At Boston University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Epstein was a Division 1 soccer player. He and his wife later became significant contributors to Washington University.

Millionaire goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Photo supplied.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

People on South African track star Gena Lofstrand has been apointed the new vice-principal of the PUMA School of Speed 2019, reporting to principal Usain Bolt. “I feel so lucky to be a part of something that is making waves in South African schools’ athletics,” says Lofstrand, who was just 17 when she won the 800m title at the SA Senior Championships in 2013. “I hope to help PUMA to encourage more young people to take part in athletics, and I hope to inspire and encourage other athletes to chase their dreams as relentlessly as I chase my own.” The PUMA School of Speed 2019 is a national series of five athletic meets held annually to identify new athletic talent. The series was launched in 2016 and young South African athletes compete in long and high jump, the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, short hurdles and relays. “School of Speed events are always exciting, and it is so important to give younger athletes the opportunity to compete in such high-quality events,” says Lofstrand. She encourages young athletes across the country to enter the series for 2019. “It’s always rewarding to see young South Africans excel and Gena will use her position to inspire teenage South Africans to follow in her footsteps and those of Usain Bolt,” says PUMA SA Marketing Director Brett Bellinger, who believes Lofstrand is a worthy vice-principal of the PUMA School of Speed 2019.

Former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo made two debuts at this year's Superbowl: it was not only his first day in the broadcast booth at the football game attracting the biggest TV audience (estimated 1-m) but he also made his acting debut in a light-hearted SKECHERS ad focusing on how "taking life easy" now also extends to his Skechers slip-on shoes with all the comfort features that make his life so "easy". Jan Oblak (left), the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, has signed a long term partnership agreement with PUMA Football. Oblak has established himself as one of the world’s leading goalkeepers and had been voted the Spanish league’s best goalkeeper three times in a row. In his career he had finished 100 matches of his 178 games with a goal-less clean sheet. Since he was transferred to Madrid in 2014, he has kept more clean sheets (79) than any other goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues. His club contract includes a €100-m buy-out clause – making him technically the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. He has won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, awarded to the goalkeeper who concedes the fewest goals in the Spanish league, for the past three seasons. He has the best goalkeeper rate in Europe’s top five leagues and last year he played 27 out of 50 games without conceding a goal. Since August 2014 he has been the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets, namely 79, which is 13 more than the next contender, PUMA goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Since the opening of Madrid’s new stadium in 2017, Oblak has saved 75 of the 91 shots on target he faced. He will be wearing the PUMA FUTURE boots and gloves.

the move

Capetonian Kai Fitchen, who loves to climb mountains and through his My KAPE expeditions hopes to inspire people to become conscientious about their actions on mountains, is also a Hi-Tec ambassador. In 2010, he climbed Mount Elbrus — a dream that came true — but he returned from the mountain in shock. Litter was scattered around the basecamps and his climbing partner almost died in attempting to summit. This changed his mind-set about climbing. He needed to find a way to continue climbing big mountains but in a responsible way and KAPE 2 KENYA and the My KAPE expeditions started. Diagnosed with epilepsy at age nine, he says “hiking and climbing was the only thing which got me through it”. Climbing Kilimanjaro was a life-changing experience for him, even though many warned him against the dangers. “I have to be aware of having epilepsy, but I don’t want to let it define my life.” He finished his degree in 2017 at the University of Cape Town — majoring in Spanish, French, and African History — and now has the time to go on much bigger expeditions. “The climbs are for me. The work we do along the way and the way we travel are for the planet.” Kai hopes that these exciting expeditions will bring awareness to the environmental and social issues that everyone is facing. Above everything else, he hopes My KAPE can inspire people to become conscientious about their actions.

The success of the Skechers GO GOLF range can to a large extent be attributed to the success of Skechers Performance ambassadors like Olympic medallist Matt Kuchar (above), who celebrated his second title of the season at the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu in January. This moved him seven slots higher to second place in season points for the FedEx Cup. “We’re exceptionally proud to be on Matt Kuchar’s team in what’s already turning out to be a career season for this amazing athlete,” said Skechers President Michael Greenberg. “His dedication and will to pull through for victory is an inspiration, and we love that fans are watching him do it all in Skechers GO GOLF.” Kuchar has been a respected elite golfer since he entered the spotlight as US amateur champion in 1998. As a professional he had two victories in a season for the first time in 2013 and also helped the US squad beat the international team at the Presidents Cup. In 2016, Kuchar won a bronze for the United States at the Olympics and was also part of the victorious US team at the Ryder Cup. He is currently # 22 on the Official World Golf Rankings. He joined the Skechers Performance Golf Team in 2014. Known for its lightweight, high-quality, stable and comfortable designs, Skechers Performance GO GOLF and the other Skechers ranges are locally distributed by Brandfolio SA.

Industry :: p3 W.E.T. Sports has appointed angler Andrew Pautz as their new Eastern Cape agent. He is well known in the fishing fraternity, having worked in the trade and represented other fishing-related companies in the past. Pautz is an avid angler and outdoor enthusiast, who describes working in the industry as “living his dream”. “We hope he will be happy with us and look after our Eastern Cape customers for many years to come,” says Patrick Franck, Marketing Manager. The distributorship, which concentrates on supplying independent retailers, turns 35 this year. Over the last few years they have especially grown their fishing-related offering, so that they now have a comprehensive range to show at the annual SAFTAD fishing tackle trade show, where they are regulars. Karin Human has joined the 1721 Distributors team as Merchandise and Marketing Manager. “From concept to collection I’m obsessed with what I do,” she says. “I’m a true believer in if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. My passion for this industry is immense and I’m so excited to be apart of the 1721 and FILA family”. Human attended The University of Salford in Manchester where she graduated with a BA Honours in Fashion Design, specializing in luxury womenswear. Thereafter she worked as head designer for local brand FALKE, until she joined the team at 1721 Distributors. Kerry Farrah (right) recently joined Fila’s South African distributor, 1721 Distributors, as junior fashion designer. “I have always had a deep appreciation for all elements that make up and form art. Constant learning and improving myself is a regular goal that is instilled within me. I am naturally ambitious and persistent to achieve the upmost quality and design.” She attended the Durban University of Technology and completed her Bachelors of Technology in Fashion and Textiles in 2018.

PUMA has arranged a collaboration between Belgian music artist TheColorGrey and PUMA football ambassador Romelu Lukaku (left) to release a track called ‘New Levels’, which pays homage to Lukaku’s tough upbringing and rise to stardom. The project is part of PUMA’s effort to reach out to football fans on and off the pitch and delve into the rich culture surrounding the sport. Lukaku has become one of the world’s top strikers and even though he is only 25 years old, he is already the highest all-time scorer for Belgium. He makes no secret of his passion for hip-hop, which has been a constant source of inspiration, and chose his friend and musician ‘TheColorGrey‘, a young hip-hop and urban music artist, to collaborate on the music project to tell the story of their tough upbringing. The friends worked closely together on the track, while TheColorGrey developed the lyrics. “Rom is a great role model for young people who come from the same tough background and want to achieve their ambitions,” says TheColorGrey. “Since I have known him he has always hustled and worked hard to achieve his dream. Through this soundtrack, I wanted to highlight these values.” Lukaku currently wears the PUMA ONE Stun Pack.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p4 :: Industry

Brands on

Laurence Slotsky (third from right) and the 1721 Distributors team.

Fila introduces new product categories after successful seven months SEVEN MONTHS after launching the new Fila distributorship in South Africa, Laurence Slotsky and his team at 1721 Distributors are introducing two brand new product categories into South Africa for SS19: underwear and swimwear. “Fila International saw a gap in the market where consumers were wanting trend pieces that are multipurpose,” says Lara Slotsky, 1721 Distributors’ product developer for womens and kids. “During summer 2018, consumers were utilizing their Fila bodysuits and lifestyle shorts as swimwear. They wanted to feel individual, trendy and hip even when going to the beach. “I’m so excited to see the initial response to

Truly South African brand launched

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

A NEW LOCAL brand was recently launched into a few retail stores. “Ama ‘Tekkie is a true South African brand,” says Reinhard Barnard, founder of the brand, which he registered ten years ago. “The designs are uniquely African in spirit and they have already found a niche in the market.” The sneakers for men, women and children with their distinctive bright graphics have been introduced into selected retailers and pop-up stores as a brand activation. The favourable reception convinced Barnard to make it available to a wider retail market. It is available from A former retailer and owner of Model Sport in Worcester, Barnard began developing shoe ranges and alternative retail concepts a few years ago.

our swimwear range and with all our special fabrications and unique details, we will definitely stand out this coming summer.” Each product is unique in its own way and serve a multipurpose function for fashion and sport, says Slotsky. They will easily merge into Fila’s already prominent lifestyle heritage range. To meet the fashion needs of the fastgrowing fitness market, Fila will this summer launch their global female activewear collection in South Africa through selected retailers. The product assortment is contemporary and fresh and the fabrics are unique in quality, says Slotsky. The SS19 collection of Fila global product categories will showcase their ability to adapt

PUMA expands golf interests as sport grows WITH GOLF sales on the rise again, expect to see more brands signing endorsement agreements with top golfers. Last year golf sales grew 8% in the US, and anecdotal evidence suggests golf is making a comeback in South Africa as well. With the recent signing of Gary Woodland, PUMA Golf also signed into the growing patriotism amongst a section of the American population. The PGA Tour professional will wear apparel, footwear and accessories from the brand’s Volition America Collection, a patriotic ensemble of products, which supports the families of US military heroes through the Folds of Honor Foundation. It funds educational scholarships for families of fallen and critically-injured US military men and women. “Gary is the perfect ambassador to lead our Volition America Collection on course,” says Dan Ladd, Snr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Cobra PUMA Golf. Woodland attended the University of Kansas on a golf scholarship, winning four tournaments as an amateur. Since he turned professional in 2007, he had three PGA Tour wins and is currently ranked #24.

Industry :: p5

the move to the market trends and the consumers’ needs. Over the past few months the company had partnered with key retail accounts to enable them to showcase and stage the Fila brand effectively and impactful at store level, says Laurence Slotsky. They believe their long term and outstanding relationships within the trade has been a key differentiator in their success during the past season. “The aspirational consumer image of the brand is bigger than ever both locally and internationally, and the collection has been beautifully curated to bring only the best to the South African market.” Fila is a big, visible, brand internationally through its presence at top tennis and other sports events as well as in the fashion arena, as was evident at the Milan Fashion Week, Pitti Uomo as well as multiple collaborations with Fendi and other aspirational global brands. Bjorn Borg and Grant Hill returned as brand ambassadors this year and Mexican long distance runner German Silva was recently signed as brand ambassador. He won the New York City Marathon in 1994 and 1995 and last

year celebrated his 50th birthday by running the New York City Marathon with his son, who was racing for the first time. An update to the Silva Trainer silhouette has been introduced globally, as well as a FILA/Silva apparel collection for men and women. For winter there will also be something special to look forward to, namely the FN’s 2018 Shoe of the Year, the Fila Disruptor 2 sneaker, redesigned as a boot. The standout features that created such a trend following for this ugly shoe, like the instantly recognizable sawtooth bottom, will be preserved.

The Fila Silva trainer. Photos supplied.

Contact: 1721 Distributors Tel: 011 630 4000

p6 :: Industry

The Bulls played dressed as Captain America, Lions as Spiderman, Sharks as Black Panther, and the Stormers played dressed as Thor in certain local matches.

Fans spoilt by rugby replica options


hese teams’ fans had the option to buy special event jerseys, in addition to the ordinary team replicas and fan shirts normally available. There are the Marvel comic-inspired shirts worn by the top four local teams for Super Rugby home games, the pink Protea shirts, the limited number (350) of the mostlyyellow Madiba-inspired jerseys ASICS made available for the public to buy for the HSBC Sevens tournament in Cape Town … and more. With the limited number of Madiba sevens shirts available, it was not surprising that only a few of them were spotted among the fancy

Super Rugby suppliers adidas















dresses, face paint and masks that add atmosphere to these tournaments. The special jerseys were made as part of the centenary celebrations of Madiba’s life, who was well known for his vibrant and unique Madiba shirts. The design incorporates elements such as the protea and Springbok in green, gold and touches of white. The fans that packed the stands when the Blitzbokke played, however, mainly showed their ‘Bok support by donning their solid green Springbok supporters’ jerseys. But, as many retailers will confirm, they don’t necessarily buy the latest tournament replica. In a snap survey of 30 people wearing Springbok replica in the V&A Waterfront before the game, twenty (66%) were wearing Springbok fifteen jerseys with the Can-

Local team suppliers Free State Cheetahs


Golden Lions















SWD Eagles












Eastern Province Kings








Border Bulldogs

Flya (Time Clothing)

Dynasty Sports




No Limits




Blue Bulls





Western Province


Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

terbury logo from more than four years ago, and only four (13%) wore the ordinary green Sevens replica. This confirms the feedback we receive from retailers: replica shirts are not necessarily top of their customers’ shopping lists — mainly due to the cost. Special edition shirts, like the Superhero comic shirts, therefore provide a fun and colourful display on-field, but does not set the tills ringing … not even on Su-

perhero Sunday when 50 000 fans packed the Cape Town stadium, mainly in their home made versions of their team’s superhero alter ego.

Super Rugby jersey sponsors With all five the New Zealand teams playing in adidas, the brand is currently the supplier of most of the Super Rugby teams’ jerseys. It is followed by Canterbury, which sponsors two South African teams (Sharks and Lions), as well as the Sunwolves from Japan and Aus-

Industry :: p7

tralia’s Waratahs. BLK sponsors the Stormers, as well as the Australian Rebels. According to Darryl Kroll of Western Province Rugby the players opted to appoint BLK as their new shirt sponsor this year because they will be the only local team sponsored by the brand. PUMA sponsors the Bulls and the following brands also sponsor one Super Rugby team each: Dynasty Sports (Reds), O’Neills (Brumbies) and Nike (Jaguares).

Local union sponsors Canterbury is the most prolific sponsor of the local rugby unions, namely Sharks, Golden

Lions, Free State Cheetahs, Pumas and SWD Eagles. Xco sponsors the Falcons/ Valke and Griquas, PUMA supplies the Blue Bulls and Fain the Eastern Province Kings. Flya (Time Clothing) supplies the Border Bulldogs’ jerseys and No Limits the Leopards’.

Above left: This would have been the Bulls’ Home jerseys for the season ... before SA Rugby’s deal with Marvel Comics. Photo supplied. Above: Impi Visser scoring against Samoa, wearing the special edition Madiba shirt in the Cape Town Sevens tournament. Left: The Hurricanes jersey from adidas. Previous page: The Lions shirt from Canterbury and Chiefs from adidas.

Contact: 1721 Distributors Tel: 011 630 4000

p8 :: Industry

Hi-Tec breathes life into urban spaces HI-TEC SA has embarked on several initiatives to make a difference to people’s lives and breathe new life into city spaces — for example, by erecting a 14m plant wall in Maboneng, in the heart of Johannesburg CBD (see below). This 200m strip attracts well over 40 000 people per month. “We have to do things differently to get noticed, and this fits our urban-outdoor brand positioning perfectly,” says Jo Esterhuizen of Hi-Tec SA. “It cleans polluted air, uplifts the area, and, most importantly, stirs fantastic PR amongst our consumers.” As a further part of their CSI campaign Breathing Life into City Spaces, Hi-Tec SA donated a community gym at the infamous Mofolo Park in the heart of Soweto. As a home to annual cultural activities and thousands of by-passers, the gym encourages the community to get outside and be proud of their recreational space. “We have had an enormously positive response from the community, and look forward to keep on investing in community life, ” says Esterhuizen. Apart from donating the equipment, Hi-Tec planted trees, and enhanced the surroundings by decorating a 70m wall.

Classy comfort from Hi-Tec’s latest ranges THE NEW models in Hi-Tec’s Carrick collection, Franco and Eland Vellie, combine leathers and comfort. Franco’s two styles have classy leather silhouettes, while Eland gives a modern, contemporary twist to the traditional vellie. Franco’s Chelsea and Lo styles (below) are both designed with a snug foam backed woven lining and board-lasted construction with a steel shank for arch support. The Chelsea boot has a low-profile sole with leather rounding for a sturdy fit and a quality look. It’ll go especially well with a button-up shirt, recommends Hi-Tec. Franco Lo also has a low-profile sole, as well as laces for a casual, but classy, look. “The Carrick Collection combines the traditions of modern manufacturing with the earlier ideals of craftsmanship,” says Hi-Tec. “The updated Eland Vellie is modern and contemporary with lightweight suede leather providing a wellworn look.” It

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

Companies on

Madiba’s shoes come home to Stellenbosch TWENTY-EIGHT years after Madiba walked to freedom through the gates of Pollsmoor Prison in the Western Cape, his favourite shoes have come back to the Western Cape. During his 27-year incarceration his favourite shoes were a pair of blue and white Hi-Tec tennis trainers, which can now be seen in the Hi-Tec concept store in Church Street, Stellenbosch. After he left prison, the late president auctioned these shoes for charity. When Hi-Tec Sports founder Frank van Wezel, a big admirer of Madiba, heard that the trainers were going up for auction to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, he bought them without hesitation. For decades the shoes were proudly displayed in the foyer of the Hi-Tec global head-office and later the brand’s concept store in Amsterdam. Tourists from all over the world visited the concept store to see the shoes, take pictures, and express their admiration for our late president. Van Wezel subsequently sold Hi-Tec globally but remained the owner of Hi-Tec South Africa. And in December 2018, he brought the shoes back to South Africa. They are now proudly displayed in the Hi-Tec Stellenbosch store.





features the traditional stitch-down vellie construction and a durable low-profile sole. Comfort seekers will appreciate the versatility of the latest Ravus collection, which combines the tech features of the hiking collection with everyday wear. The Ravus Vent Lux Low in black/charcoal/picante (right) is a outdoor crossover shoe that is a great choice for walking your dog, heading to

town, or on the trail. It is grippy, waterproof and breathable. The Ravus Vent Low is a comfortable, breathable ladies outdoor crossover shoe in warm grey/melon rose colourways. An M-D Traction outsole provides grip for walking both up and downhill and a compression-moulded EVA midsole ensures comfort, while the gusseted tongue makes sure the wearer avoids debris on trails.





the move

Jaime Fuller during his South African visit. Photo: Nicol du Toit.

Skins brand files for bankruptcy THE PERFORMANCE sports brand Skins has filed for bankruptcy in a Swiss court. A trustee will be appointed to manage the company, reported former chairman turned clean-sport-campaigner Jaimie Fuller in his last Watercooler blog on the Skins website, titled Farewell from Jaimie. “Skins as a brand will not disappear; the brand will merely change ownership; and those of you who love and already wear Skins will still be able to buy the products,” he wrote. “Skins is a genuine pacesetter. We led the creation and manufacture of sports compression wear, and we pride ourselves on continuing to lead the sports performance category in terms of innovation and performance.” Fuller bought into the Australian brand about 17 years ago, but over the past few years he became better known as an outspoken campaigner for changing the world through sport, notably for a successful change in management in cycling following the drug scandals; better working conditions for workers building the FIFA World Cup stadiums in Qatar; and against corruption and discrimination in the leadership of FIFA and various other sporting codes. He also called on other brands not to sponsor and support clearly corrupt sporting bodies. Fuller trader.pdf visited South1Africa at the end08:28 of 2013 to address sports 2019/02/13 a conference on fair play in sport, during which he intro-

Industry :: p9

Ledlenser Trails in Motion film tour seen by 30 000 LEDLENSER REMAINS the naming sponsor of the international Ledlenser Trails in Motion Film Tour until 2020. First presented in South Africa in 2013, the film tour has become a global event, presenting a selection of the best trail and ultra-run films. The latest, the 7th Ledlenser Trails in Motion Film Tour, had its premiere on 23 January in the US. “We are convinced that the enthusiasm for trail running will continue to grow in the coming years,” says Silke Hemminger, Sports Marketing Manager for Ledlenser. “Our aim is to offer running communities across the globe inspiration and motivation for new running adventures by way of local screenings.” Since its launch in 2013, the film tour has been seen by 30 000 people in 30 countries. Ledlenser, locally distributed by Awesome Tools, has been the principal sponsor since 2017. They also encourage retailers to apply to the brand to organize a screening of the film tour for their customers. “Together with the headlamp run, this ensures a great experience for enthusiastic runners, whilst at the same time strengthening the relationship between running community, retailer and our brand,” says Hemminger. duced his PureSport concept. The Skins financial setback started 11 years ago during the global financial crisis when he sold a portion of Skins to a private equity firm. “I made a lousy deal,” Fuller admits — and in order to get out of the private equity arrange-

ment they had to borrow heavily. “To my enormous regret, those borrowings have become unsustainable and while we have been working for some time now to try to avoid what is happening today, in the end there was no choice.”

Bata SA wins export award Bata South Africa was named the 2018 KZN Exporter of the Year in the medium category. The finalists had to meet stringent requirements to be selected. “Bata’s philosophy is to secure the best pricing in the market, by adding value to the supply chain through the provision of quality components and product to local manufacturers and retailers at competitive rates,” says Tess Simpson (above left), Exports Co-ordinator at Bata South Africa. “This approach has enabled Bata to grow our presence and build on consumer trust.” School and safety shoes, gumboots, uniform and fashion footwear are exported to more than a third of the countries on the African continent, the United Kingdom and Singapore.


Available at 2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p10 :: Industry

Grasshoppers brought comfort to 20-m One of South Africa’s iconic brands, Grasshoppers, has provided employment for 1 000s of craftsmen


fter producing more than 20-m shoes over more than 50 years, Grasshoppers, one of South Africa’s iconic comfort brands, remains as contemporary and young looking as any of the young brands currently on the shelves. Every year 750 000 pairs of hand-finished Grasshopper Shoes are manufactured at the brand’s original production facility in the Southern Cape communities of Great Brak and Oudtshoorn. And to date, since the brand was established in 1966, about 20-m shoes have left the factory — destined for the feet of South Africans who have trusted the trademark Grasshoppers comfort and quality for over half a century, says Bolton Footwear. Grasshoppers is now one of South Africa’s most recognisable footwear names. “It is a brand that transcends age, social, and economic divides and it is a 100% proudly local, quality product,” says Head of Group Marketing at Bolton Footwear, Stuart Hopwood. He explains that the Grasshoppers factory both directly and indirectly employs a thousand local craftsmen (some of whom are third generation artisans) living in Great Brak and the surrounding Southern Cape area. Besides being a visually iconic shoe, Grasshoppers have stayed the course for South Africans because of a key factor — comfort. Designed to be worn for long stretches of time, be it at work or at play, and crafted in a time-honoured shoemaking tradition, they quite literally are made to last a lifetime, says Hopwood. If we can get them onto people’s feet, they will wear them forever is a company mantra. The construction of original Grasshoppers moccasins goes back to a technique used by Native Americans, where hand stitched leather

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

The construction of original Grasshoppers moccasins goes back to a technique used by Native Americans, where hand stitched leather is fashioned to form a glove around the foot. is fashioned to form a glove around the foot. “What makes our shoes so comfortable, is that each and every pair is hand finished,” says Tom Bailey, Bolton Head of Group Design, who adds that the distinctive long lasting crepe natural rubber sole was developed thanks to a technique taught by the original German brand owners. Each Grasshoppers shoe tells a fascinating and feel-good tale. The brand is one of the largest private employers in the Southern Cape area and thanks to its success became a catalyst to the formation of thirteen small businesses in the region that each make and sell a key component of the shoe. “Grasshoppers are a feel-good buy — not only because they are such a huge part of our cultural history, but because they play such a big role in supporting an entire community in a meaningful way,” Bailey says. Being fitted for a first pair of Grasshoppers is a rite of passage for countless South Africans. For many, the relationship starts at school. Beyond the school market, the longevity of Grasshoppers can be attributed to the fact that the brand is as relevant for someone entering the job market, as for the fashionforward urbanite looking for a new pair of on trend shoes to marry with his skinny jeans and

button down shirt, says Hopwood. “It’s been exciting to see new generations embracing Grasshoppers as their shoe of choice and it is something we’re really proud of — where else in the world will you find a grandfather and grandson proudly wearing the same brand of shoe?” he adds. While the traditional Grasshoppers moccasin has remained the brand’s most iconic and instantly recognisable offering, there’s no denying the rise in popularity of the Grasshopper stitch-down styles or veldskoens. Traditionally worn by platteland locals, Grasshopper stitch-downs (vellies) have in recent years moved into the mainstream fashion arena. “Milennials have embraced our vellies, they like the honesty and realness of the brand and I guess the irony of a city kid wearing a hardcore, rugged, shoe is also part of the joy,” says Bailey. Like with any iconic brand, staying relevant is key. Which is why in the not-too-distant future, there will be a range of stitch-down shoes aimed at women. “We’ve seen so many more women buy our vellies and we want to explore that even more — women’s feet are so different to men’’, it’s important to us that we design a product that is ergonomically sound and that our customer likes the look of it too,” says Bailey. Getting things right in a notoriously fickle market is a daunting challenge, but one that he and his team are up for. “Being in the Grasshoppers game means we’re in it for the marathon and not the sprint. We plan to be around for many, many years to come, so we have to make sure we get it absolutely right and that same commitment to quality and comfort remains the most important factor. It’s the cornerstone of our business and we value our customers’ trust in us implicitly,” he says.

Companies move Olympic encourages shoe donations OLYMPIC INTERNATIONAL is encouraging participants in events like the XTERRA Grabouw, the biggest XTERRA event in the world, and Origins of Trails to Share A Pair by donating used trail or mountainbiking shoes to the less fortunate. “Participants and their families are encouraged to drop their old pairs of sports shoes at the Olympic International bins provided at the event, which will then be distributed to needy children and adult charity organisations such as Aitsa, an aftercare centre in the heart of Kylemore in the Dwarsriver valley with 180 children, and others,” says Fahiem Frizlar, Marketing distributor Bolton Footwear. These donations can make a huge difference to those who are keen on sports, but do not have access to the right gear, says

Frizlar. “As a runner, I’ve often wondered what to do with my old pair, as it’s still in relatively good condition, but not suitable for long distance running. Instead of them collecting dust or being thrown out, they can be put to excellent use by someone else. For someone out there, they’ll be as new.” Olympic will provide collection bins at various events around the country this year. “Not only can you donate footwear, but also sports equipment and clothing,” says Frizlar. They also collected shoes and sports equipment at the 6th BUCO Origin of Trails in Stellenbosch earlier this year. In this campaign they invited participants to donate any old sports equipment, clothing and footwear at the Olympic International bins provided at the race.

Jurgens liquidated? ACCORDING TO a notice published in the Sunday Times on 9th December, Jurgens Ci had been placed under provisional liquidation following a liquidation application brought by Megafreight Services in September 2018. The company also manufactures camping gear under the Howling Moon brand and sold its products through Campworld retail outlets. Although Jurgens has experienced trading difficulties over the past few years, including industrial action and several outlets closing temporarily, it remains the biggest supplier of caravans in South Africa. Founded 66 years ago, Jurgens in its heyday manufactured about 3 000 caravans per year and it is still manufacturing more than a thousand caravans under twenty brand names a year. It also exports locally manufactured caravan kits to Australia to be assembled and sold there. Megafreight is a privately owned South African freight forwarding and customs clearing company, which has been in business for nearly 40 years. They applied to have Jurgens liquidated on 14 August 2018, but the provisional order was only published on December 9th. At this stage it is unclear what affect this liquidation notice will have on all the Campworld retail stores countrywide that also sell camping equipment from various brands. The current owner of Jurgens Ci, Paul Kyriacou, who bought the business in February 2017, told Caravan & Outdoor Life that they are in negotiations regarding the settlement agreement and that he does not foresee Jurgens going into final liquidation.

p12 :: Industry

Breaking the ground for the expansion to Skechers headquarters are COO David Weinberg, CFO John Vandemore, senior vice-president of Real Estate and Construction Peter Mow, Skechers president Michael Greenberg, and vice-president of Commercial Development Tim Ball. Photo: Business Wire.

Skechers on the growth path Skechers has outgrown is headquarters due to fast growth, including in the Performance sector, and the appeal of the brand due to its doing good ethos


kechers started the year in a groundbreaking way with the company’s executives breaking the first ground for the expansion of their corporate headquarters in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, California. The expansion to several adjacent buildings will more than double the company’s office, design and showroom space to just over 330 000 square feet. The office expansion became necessary due to the fast growth of the company, which more than doubled its annual sales over the past four years, and the anticipated future growth. “We started Skechers in a Manhattan Beach condominium in 1992, and now we’re a global brand with annual sales of over $4-bn in 2017,” said president Michael Greenberg at the ceremony. “Through our years of incredible growth, we’ve called the South Bay home, so to be able to expand our headquarters where this company was born, is important to who we are.” It had become a challenge to run the growing business from the existing space, added Skechers COO David Weinberg. All buildings are being developed with sustainability in mind to achieve LEED Gold certification. Earth-friendly features will include solar panels, daylight harvesting and motioncontrolled lighting, high-performance glass, R30 insulation, and Forest Stewardship-certified wood. Additionally, landscaping will utilize drought-tolerant bio-filtration planters with low-water-use plumbing and irrigation. Skechers will also continue its ongoing commitment to reduce waste at every level across the entire corporate headquarters — from recycling services to eco-friendly kitchen materials.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

“We have always focused on meeting the needs of consumers around the world, growing our business significantly including more than doubling our annual sales in four years, said Robert Greenberg, Skechers CEO. “But, we also believe there are numerous opportunities to strategically expand our business. With completion anticipated for 2022, this beautiful new headquarters will mark the celebration of our 30th anniversary.”

Skechers Performance contributed The inroads Skechers Performance footwear and clothing made in the athletic footwear market made a big contribution to the company’s growth. This was assisted by strategic alliances with leading elite athletes and events. The Houston Marathon Limited Edition Skechers GO RUN Forza 3 was sold on the brand’s booth at the marathon. In January Skechers Performance renewed its relationship with the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon where it was the official footwear and apparel sponsor for the 6th year. A limited-edition collection of official race footwear and apparel were sold during the expo, where Skechers Performance elite athletes two-time Los Angeles Marathon winner Weldon Kirui, as well as four-time Olympian and 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, signed autographs and met fans at the Skechers booth, where the race collections attracted quite some attention. The race collections feature the Skechers GO RUN Forza 3 (above) and Skechers GO

RUN Ride7 for both men and women. T h e limited-edition designs feature Houston on the heel pull tab as well as an outline of the state of Texas on the side of the heel, with a star placed to represent the city of Houston. Skechers Performance has also been the official footwear partner of the Los Angeles Marathon since 2014.

Doing good Another reason for the Skechers brand’s appeal is its commitment to playing an active role in helping less fortunate communities. Skechers’ President, Michael Greenberg, was honoured with the T. Kenyon Holly humanitarian award by the Two Ten Footwear Foundation at the end of last year. The award was for his US, national and global humanitarian actions on behalf of children, e.g. funding education, supporting children with special needs, and donating to families impacted by natural disasters. “The T. Kenyon Holly Award is presented to an individual in the footwear, leather or allied industries who exemplifies the spirit and character of the late T. Kenyon Holly, past president of Two Ten Footwear Foundation,” explains a press release. “I am honoured, but I feel that everything I’ve done

Industry :: p13

Skechers President Michael Greenberg accepting the humanitarian award from Brooke Burke of the Two Ten Foundation. Bottom The opening of the Skechers Superstore in Shenyang China, brought the brand’s stores to 3 000 worldwide. Photos: Businesswire.

has been based on need, and what any business leader should do,” said Greenberg when he accepted the award. “I truly believe that every company should give back in any way that they can, and that every human should do the same. The need is great locally, nationally and globally, and we are an industry of achievers. Together, our impact could be massive.” Greenberg became involved with the South Bay Friendship Foundation back in 2005 and the foundation now offers more than 30 school clubs and over 60 classes and outings across Southern California. Skechers’ annual Pier to Pier Walk, established in 2009, supports the foundation and local schools and is now California’s largest event of its kind. Each year the money raised has increased, raising a total of over $11-m to date. The BOBS for Skechers charity footwear program gives shoes, socks, apparel and backpacks to families affected by national disasters, for example Puerto Rican hurricane victims and those of the recent California wildfires. To date the program has donated more than 15-m pairs of shoes to children in need throughout the US and more than 60 countries around the world. Additionally, he also established the Harrison Greenberg Foundation, in honour of his son, which has raised $4-m to save and revive the historical Roundhouse Aquarium on Southern California’s Manhattan Beach Pier. The aquarium features a state-of-the-art teaching and experience destination with galleries, touch tanks, educational programs and free camps. “Michael Greenberg doesn’t just give his name to causes; he gets deeply involved in them. Every event that he’s supported has thrived because of his passion and personal input,” says Neal Newman, president of Two Ten Footwear Foundation. Greenberg is also a supporter of Two Ten, which is a charitable foundation for the US footwear industry that provides emergency financial assistance, natural disaster recovery, educational scholarships, counselling services and professional development programs. The foundation estimates that the country has around 330 000 footwear employees.

p14 :: Industry

Brands end

relationships with

independents At the end of last year, a large number of sport and lifestyle retailers were informed by Nike that the brand was closing their accounts. All stores claim they have never missed a payment. Most of them have had long-standing relationships with the brand ... in several cases as long as 40-50 years. Then we got calls that adidas had done the same. Many of the retailers said they felt betrayed after building the brands for many years. Also see the responses from the brands overleaf. By Trudi du Toit


hortly before Christmas last year an independent South African retailer contacted us about a special Christmas gift he received from Nike: a registered letter informing him that they won’t be supplying him any longer, even though his account is in good standing and he had been a long-term customer. Over the past two years the retailer had placed orders worth R1.3-m with the brand. We soon learnt that this Dear John letter was not unique — a surprising number of independent sport and lifestyle stores across the country were also dumped by Nike at the end of last year. We were surprised by the large number of retailers who had received THE letter (as it became known) at about the same time, which suggested a policy decision by the brand, rather than a decision based on nonperformance from a specific retailer. Nike confirmed this when we contacted them, but did not want to respond to our specific questions (see their statement on p17). The gist of their letter was that It’s been determined that your business relationship does not satisfy the objective criteria of Nike’s business strategy... without providing examples or proof of where the retailer falls short.

Accounts in good standing The retailers who called or emailed or later responded to survey questions recounted similar experiences, for example: • All say their accounts are up to date and they have never missed a payment; • None of them had been given a valid reason for anything they had done wrong that necessitated the closure of their accounts; • Most of the correspondents and callers had

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

About the same reaction one would expect from a wife who is told by her successful husband after their silver wedding anniversary that he is divorcing her because she no longer fits his image ... after she supported him in the early days when he was struggling to establish himself been long-term brand customers ... several between 30-50 years, or more, the shortest five years. Sports Trader’s readers will know a fair number of these retailers, because we had done Shop Talk articles about them in the past. We do these articles about independents who had made a success of their businesses — some overcoming major obstacles, including stiff competition from chains — as an example to other retailers of what can be achieved even under difficult circumstances. Many of these independent sports retailers have strong ties with the communities they serve, especially in platteland towns. They coach local sports teams and can offer customers individual advice because they know their playing conditions and personal circumstances. These are some of the reasons why they have been able to compete successfully against chains. Many retailers also say they have been promoting the top brands for many years ... a

practice that now comes back to bite them as customers are not keen to accept other brands as substitutes. The retailers are therefore deeply concerned by the effect of these account closures on their businesses, especially when their customers only want a specific rugby boot or running shoe from these two top brands ... or nothing. “All the school boys want the Predator boot from adidas … which we may not supply. This is doing a lot of damage to our business as our whole boot trade has collapsed,” says an independent outfitter from a Boland town where two of the biggest rugby schools are located. “Kids want a specific brand and will not change their minds. They simply walk out if we don’t have it.”

Retailers helped build brands This is an experience shared by many retailers. “Customers do leave without purchasing any footwear or apparel if they wanted Nike in the first place,” says Anton Momberg of Sege Sport in Cape Town, who was dropped as a customer by Nike some years ago after selling the brand for many years — and whose business subsequently suffered. “It is so unfair to punish independents that helped bring the product strongly into the marketplace,” says another retailer. “These products were purchased by the independents, displayed, stored, merchandised and promoted. Surely, the management from Nike and adidas cannot be naive on this point? Otherwise, the giants have no heart and kick those that loyally supported them over many years.” A sports retailer who had been stocking Nike

Industry :: p15

since 1976 (42 years) says it is “one of our major shoe brands,” and he believes his business will suffer now that his supplies had been cut off. Keith Mclaren of Desnic’s Planet Sport has been selling Nike products since 1965 when the Kimberley store, which also services schools and clubs in surrounding towns, opened 54 years ago. These two sports retailers had therefore been Nike stockists for close to a hundred years. Lifestyle retailers are equally concerned about the effect of their account closures by Nike, which they say is a market leader that is in high demand by their customers. For example, Pampally Trading had been a Nike stockist for 35 years, The Holiday Makers Shop had been a brand customer for more than 30 years, Reeds Mans Shop for 25 years and Wadees Clothing had been selling Nike for 20 years. Between them, these four lifestyle retailers had been good enough for Nike for more than hundred years ... but no longer. Others, who did not supply names have been stockists for 45 years, for 35 years, or for 30 years — which would be more than the life span of some of their customers.

Adidas did the same Then, we started getting calls from retailers whose accounts had also been closed by adidas over the last couple of years, without any reasons that made sense to them. This was more of a gradual process than the mass closures of Nike at the end of last year (as confirmed by adidas SA on p17). We therefore decided to include general questions about brands closing their accounts in our annual holiday sales survey (see p23).

Coupled with the tough economy, many of the retailers only see a future of doom and gloom and empty aisles if they cannot supply the brands their customers want. While one or two respondents mentioned other brands that don’t want to supply them, the main concern was the closure of accounts by top brands Nike and adidas. Coupled with the tough economic conditions, many of the retailers only foresee doom and gloom and empty aisles in their stores if they cannot supply the brands their customers want. All the respondents whose accounts had been closed said they felt betrayed and angry. About the same reaction one would expect from a wife who is told by her successful husband after their silver wedding anniversary that he is divorcing her because she no longer fits his image ... after she supported him in the early days when he was struggling to establish himself. “It’s not what you’ve done, it’s what you’ve not done,” Yusuf Moosa of Lucky Sport was told by a Nike rep. “This decision is irreversible,” said the rep when he asked what he could do to continue receiving the brand, which he describes as a puller of customers into stores. “I’ve been a Nike customer for fourteen years and ordered every quarter, never missing a payment,” says Moosa, who says he was even put on a higher category that allowed him to view the ranges, instead of ordering online. We received many comments from retailers who wished to remain anonymous, To p16

A Dear John email to a retailer After A retailer, who had been an adidas stockist since the brand was introduced into South Africa, emailed a brand representative to enquire when he would be able to view ranges for futures orders, he received the following email (verbatim): As per our last conversation, we as a company have had to go through some large changes and as directed from Global to close accounts and realign our business segmentation and account plan with the global strategy. With the fact that adidas has grown significantly over the past few years resulting in our processes becoming more cumbersome. We unfortunately no longer have the capacity to service all our customers and not withstanding some long standing relationships we have had to revisit our distribution strategy for SS18, as mentioned above. We were instructed to review several accounts and re segment another sector of our business. As mentioned your account was one of these and we were looking at options to benefit your store. We therefore regret to inform you there we are not able to supply you with adidas product as of January 1, 2018. We will honour all existing orders that are currently in the system for the remainder of the year and then respectfully need to close your account with adidas for the short to medium term, where we hope to have a solution in place to be able to service you again.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p16 :: Industry

Brands vs independents cont. from p15

because they hope the brands will change their minds and open their accounts again: •  “I received no notification that Nike is closing our account, but when  we tried to order we were told our account is closed,” says a retailer  who has been a customer for thirty years. •  “Nike is definitely a market leader and because many of our customers think we are still Nike stockists, our business suffer because we  cannot supply them products.” •  “Nike is not a sudden craze like Vans — it is a constant force in the  market and cannot be ignored ... my Nike customers will seek the  brand elsewhere now that I don’t supply them and then those customers may be tempted to buy everything elsewhere...” •  “It’s because of greed, they only want to supply the big guys.” •  “I can understand if I don’t pay my account — but, I’m never late and  never defaulted on any payment.” •  “After 35 years I was pushed aside and the reason was that I did not spend enough — yet, I had been told I was going to be upgraded to be  a priority customer.” •  “I believe you have to spend R1-m a season, but I have been cut off  from ordering the top end key products since 2015, which made it  impossible to reach that target.” •  “Adidas has done the same to us a year ago. ASICS refuses point blank  to supply us after more than seven years of trading. The big brands have no interest in SME businesses and make it as difficult as possible  just to open an account. It’s not fair trade,” says a retailer who received THE Nike letter in December. •  “Nike will be closing our account from 2020 and adidas stopped me  buying  the  original  brand,”  says  a  lifestyle  apparel  and  footwear  stockist. “It will make a big impact on our business because our customers want those brands and I will not be able to compete with the stores who are still stocking these brands.” •  This  view  is  confirmed  by  another  anonymous  respondent  who  has  been a Nike stockist for fifteen years, who says “our Nike sales had increased over the past five years, but it is not because there is a higher  demand for the brand — it is also because other retailers around me  are not allowed to sell the brand anymore.” 

Not market leaders Most (86%) of the respondents to our surveys consider Nike a market  leader  and  70%  say  their  businesses  would  suffer  now  that  they  are  no longer able to stock the brand. Several retailers commented that  adidas stopped them buying their Originals ranges a few years ago, and  that it had also affected their business. But, a minority do not believe the brands are as powerful as a few  years ago — especially because it had been so difficult for independents  to obtain key products. “Over the last few years it had been a real struggle buying from Nike  using their useless online system and non-existent reps,” says an anonymous respondent. He does not believe his business will suffer, because  “currently Vans is in high demand.”  While he maintains that it is unfair for the brands to determine who can, and can’t, buy their products, he concedes that “if they are trying  to build an exclusive market, I suppose its their decision. However, I do  think it will backfire. South Africa is a very small market and they really  cannot afford to be fussy...” “Over the last few years, their attitude towards us has been shocking — to say the least,” agrees a customer whose account was closed  after fourteen years. “Our business will suffer as it is still a good brand,  despite them offering us a very limited range.”  A stockist of 18 years laments the fact that Nike has not been supplying “products that are in demand like Cortez or Airmax 90 to independents.” The brands are much less powerful than, for example, ten years ago,  believes a lifestyle footwear and apparel retailer. The closure of his account will therefore not make much of a difference because he also  stocks other brands that his customers like.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

The aim of the Competitions Act is to promote competition in the market place and especially to give small (and previously disadvantaged) companies a better chance to compete with big firms.

For some, the divorce from Nike had been coming for several years  now. “In fact, I think Nike’s business will suffer without the independent  retailers.  Nike  has  made  it  clear  that  the  independent  retailer  means nothing to them, and we have returned the favour by cutting  our Nike models (running, football, tennis ) from 20 to 3. If not for the  Nike  Pegasus,  we  would  keep  no  Nike  footwear,  purely  on  principle.  There are many other brands that can fill the gap.”

Going to the Competition Commission? About half of the retailers who contacted us believe the brands are acting anti-competitively and therefore should be reported to the Competition Commission. Some suggested that retailers pool resources and hire a lawyer to sue the brands in a class action. The Competition Commission does not require a foolproof case, nor  lawyer representation, for anybody to lay a complaint. But, with the  commission’s resources currently under severe strain, it would help if a  complainant can specify the anti-competitive behaviour. For example, the Competition Act of 1998, amended in 2014, specifies  Restrictive Practices (Section 4) that are illegal if it has the effect of substantially preventing, or lessening, competition in a market, unless a party to the agreement, concerted practice, or decision can prove that any technological, efficiency or other procompetitive gain resulting from it outweighs that effect. It goes further to stipulate that the following is also prohibited: dividing markets by allocating customers, suppliers, territories, or specific types of goods or services. In other words, deciding who may, or may not, stock certain ranges  and products. Section 8 further says its illegal for a dominant firm to engage in an exclusionary act, other than an act listed in paragraph (d), if the anticompetitive effect of that act outweighs its technological, efficiency or other pro-competitive gain ... See the relevant excerpts above.

Responses from

Industry :: p17

adidas and Nike SA We asked Nike SA and adidas SA for comments on the issues raised and statements made by independent retailers, angered by the closure of their accounts. NIKE SA issued a statement (below) and adidas SA MD Roddy van Breda (right) granted us an interview to explain the brand’s position


here are many misconceptions and exaggerations regarding the adidas distribution policy among retailers commenting about the closure of their accounts, says Roddy van Breda, adidas SA MD. He took the time to address some of the issues raised by retailers quoted in the article on the previous page, and explained that some of the statements were simply not true, for example: •  adidas has been reducing the number of accounts it is able to service over the last two years, but the number of reductions is nowhere near the 300 accounts mentioned; •  adidas support a huge number of independents — about 250 sport or lifestyle independents — who play an important role as specialists and distribution partners, says Van Breda; It is a false perception that big retailers dictate to adidas who it may supply. adidas makes the call based on its own objective criteria. “Over the last few years we’ve had to reevaluate our distribution policy given changing market dynamics and trading environments,” says Van Breda. “The challenge for us is: how do we ensure that we are in the right doors where our customers shop and that our customers and retail partners alike are best serviced? If we want to remain competitive, we need to evaluate our distribution from time to time and make sure we are in line with what the market requires.” “Relationships with retailers — big and small — are absolutely critical for adidas, and we pride ourselves in working with our retail partners.” The industry and retailers are evolving and every day there are new challenges that they have to find solutions for.  Retailers  want  to  differentiate  themselves  and want to offer something unique, he adds.  “Retailers want to stand for something and differentiate themselves either as a sport retailer or a lifestyle store.” In some smaller towns a retailer might sell specialist level products, as well as others, and that retailer will then be classified as a generalist, and will receive  more generalist products. Ranges  are  significantly  bigger  than  a  few  years ago, and to this end, a retailer will be more  profitable  if  that  retailer  specialises  in 

a certain area, he advises. A retailer that sells mainly entry level products will, for example, not be profitable when stocking top end products that none of his customers can afford.  “There is no sense in placing boots in a fashion store, we need to have products that are relevant to the customers who shop in those doors,” explains Van Breda. “We have to be consistent, whether dealing with a major customer or a smaller retailer. You need to decide if you want to be a sport or lifestyle store — customers don’t want you to be everything to everybody.” Van Breda adds that the decision to close an account — or open a new account — is taken at  head-office  level,  and  several  objective  factors are considered, such as, whether an area  or  town  is  over-saturated  (affecting  the  profitability  of  all  retailers  and  placing  them 

The decision to close an account — or open a new one — is taken at head-office level, and several factors are considered in jeopardy), the look and feel of the store, how the brand is displayed in the store, does the store offer something unique for consumers, how was the account handled in the past and who are the customers? In addition, other factors that may warrant the closure of an account are ongoing poor  financial  performance;  habitual  late  payment for goods and/or large outstanding debt; stores not being adequately maintained, thereby compromising the adidas brand image; and/or parties breaching material terms of their supply contracts. Adidas will also consider the cost to serve that customer — for example, does it make financial  sense to distribute product to that account in terms of order size and distance? Before closing an account they aim to follow the right levels of communication with the retail partner, because they pride themselves that they are doing the right thing, says Van Breda. They will consider the same factors when ap-

proached to open a new account — which happens regularly. But, because of the saturation of the market “we will say no more often than yes to protect existing accounts,” he adds. The practice of appointing wholesalers to service smaller retailers was stopped more than  five  years  ago,  because  by  selling  via  wholesalers, adidas is unable to control what kind of stores stock their products, thereby threatening the integrity of the brand. The former wholesalers are now teamwear accounts who sell to teams, but not to other retail accounts. “We manage the decisions about who may be an adidas stockist — otherwise stock lands on the shelves of a store we do not want to sell to.” And the separation is not always initiated by adidas, he reminds: some accounts say they no longer want to stock adidas or want to reduce their orders. “We have to ensure that our brand is hot enough and desirable enough for retailers that they wish to have it on their shelves. It requires a huge cost investment to build a brand on a local and global level to make sure our brand is hot. If the market is over-distributed, it loses some of the value. We must make sure we keep the balance.”

Statement from NIKE SA NIKE Is constantly evaluating its distribution needs with a view to enhancing its brand, and delivering the best product presentation and consumer experience at the point of sale. This includes adapting our distribution strategy to changes in our consumers' purchasing behaviour, the retail landscape and our brand strategy, and may lead to us discontinuing business with select accounts, where necessary. (We sent the same detailed list of questions to Nike and adidas).

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p18 :: Apparel & Footwear

The Bluezone denim trade show is a one-stop destination to view the upcoming denim trends and latest innovations. Photos: Thomas Traub for Bluezone.


2020 apparel and footwear trends get in touch

vents changing the world around us, news that make us sit up and take notice, important developments in various industries, etc. … these and more all play a role in trends. Trends aren’t isolated happenings, but rather results of what’s happening around us — and you’ll often see similar types of trends in various industries at the same time. For Spring 2020, expect cultural issues such as the need to connect, which emphasises the need to take the time to experience life, to continue to be overall trend influences. Within the overall broad trends are four different stories for Spring 2020, Melissa Moylan of Fashion Snoop told visitors to the Magic fashion trade show. These are Ethos, Dose, Genesis and Flash. The term FOMO (the fear of missing out) was first used in the early 2000s and it has become a normal part of society by now. People are now, however, starting to turn to JOMO (the joy of missing out) and focusing on enjoying the connection to the now and the world around them, she said. Ethos draws inspiration from the movement that gravitates towards purposefully slowing down and living in a slower world. It features colour blocking dye techniques, as well as stripes of varying width and colours that have a treatment similar to tie-dye, but more watery.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

The retro sneakers, popular in this trend, also feature colour-blocking. Women’s clothing in this trend are loose, such as oversized overcoats in light materials, pleated skirts with mid-calf hemlines, baggy pants, Bermuda shorts, crocheted sweater dresses, shirt dresses and flowing maxidresses. Men will see linen bomber jackets with short sleeves, summer suits in gingham checks, open-knit sweaters, oversized polos and shorts.

The denim market needs to ask itself how it can make denim more exciting to kids who live through their smartphones. Genesis is inspired by the birth of civilization — think well-dressed archaeologists on a dig — and has an elemental aesthetic that is blended with modern minimalism, says Moylan. Clothing, for example, feature practical elements such as utility pockets and include styles such as tailored jackets and pants. Other design details include draping, rugged patchwork, fringes, and exaggerated pockets. Women’s clothing include button-down shirts with oversized pockets, patterned maxi dress-

es, baggy, wide-leg pants, sarong-like wrap skirts, lightweight parkas and cargo pants, while men’s are dominated by simple suits with shorts, crewneck sweaters with visible seams, lightweight parkas with unexpected pocket placements, zip-front short-sleeved collared shirts, short-sleeved hoodies, and cargo pants with a straight-leg fit. Footwear include adventure-style sandals, huarache-like slip-ons with an open weave, simple slide sandals in leather or croco, and sandals with ankle wraps or tassel ties. As can be expected, Genesis features warm earth tones as well as neutrals. These are offset by brighter red tones, mauve, cerulean blue and forest green. They are used on animal skins, aged or distressed synthetics and soft cottons. One way in which to connect is to pay closer attention to sensory experiences. This includes those experienced through stimulations such as VR devices and immersive art installations. It’s these sensory triggers that influence Dose, which features entrancing patterns in bright colours and futuristic designs. “Psychedelics are going through a mainstream revolution,” said Moylan. Artificial neons form the base of the colour spectrum, with highlighter greens, bright reds and vibrant blues that are used with whites as well as softer pinks and lavenders. These are used on shiny, technical, synthetic fibres

Apparel & Footwear :: p19 in the form of blurred geometric prints and pastel gradients with a dip-dye effect. Shoes also feature colour-blocking, and sneakers come in slip-ons with mesh knit uppers as well as a chunky style with glossy finishes that give a futuristic touch. Sport styles influence clothing in this trend, with athletic-inspired nylon track pants, sports bra tops, biker shorts asymmetric hemmed slip dresses, and oversized parkas and windbreakers for ladies. Men’s apparel feature rainbow windbreakers, relaxed vacation suits with mismatched separates, tie-dyed sweaters in bright colours, resort button-downs, skater pants, mock neck zip-up sweaters, as well as neoprene sneaker-boots. Flash is influenced by the 80s, with the period’s over-the-top styling, shiny surfaces and metallic that create a flashy and slight futuristic edge. “Everything about this trend is extra,” she said. Think power blazers with contrast lapels, bright suits with satin, high-waisted pants, knee-length pencil skirts, puff sleeve tops, mini dresses and skirts, and slip dresses with ruching or draping. Men’s clothing include suits inspired by early Armani, trench coats, track shirts, puddle pants, and sweatshirts spliced with different logos and patterns. Rich jewel toned pinks, purples, greens, and blues, along with metallic, are used on disco metals, feline prints, liquid metal effect, plastic coating, synthetic textiles, or waxed denim in geometric patterns or all-over printed logos.

Denim should cater for the new generation The denim market is selling a lifestyle to consumers, Tilmann Wröbel, founder of denim consultancy firm Monsieur T, told show visitors to the Bluezone denim trade show. It should therefore make sure that this lifestyle that they are selling is one that motivates a younger generation to buy. They are, for example, rejecting the rock ‘n’ roll denim style that the previous generations enjoyed — along with the troubles that they inherited from these generations. Their rock ‘n’ roll is handsome, with combed hair and high rise denims — they want

Cowhide is the new leopard print IT’S NOT ONLY denim that is getting a western treatment — brands and designers are incorporating cow print into their designs, from boots to swimwear. But it’s a grown up, sophisticated take on the animal print that can as easily be used in real patterns and colours as in nontraditional colour variants such as the deep orange seen in Acne Studios’ take on the print when it was featured on the catwalk. From the offset, this maximalist print isn’t done by half measures, working well in co-ordinated sets, and even more so with matching accessories, recommends trend-forecaster WGSN. “This is a print that looks as at home on a tailored Victoria Beckham look as it does on influencers in swimwear,” says Polly Walters, editor of WGSN’s Trend Feed. “Few prints can travel across categories that easily, so the potential iterations make cowhide one-to-watch for seasons to come.” to look back at a time when life was easy, he said. Simple silhouettes like chino denim, A-line jean skirts and jeggings are popular in this look, and are made from smooth fabrics, indigo-dyed corduroys, compact 2x1 weaves and sateens. This trend also uses pastel colours, which might not necessarily be part of denim’s DNA, but Wröbel encouraged companies to take heed of what consumers are looking for. “We want people to think about denim as a practical thing for the future,” he said, adding that technology and innovation should be included more — and not just as stretch, Cool Max or Cordura. Technologies such as thermal, glow-in-the-dark for safety, fabric that measure UV rays … these all exist and he urged mills to go beyond the norms. The denim market needs to ask itself how it can make denim more exciting to kids who live through their smartphones, said Wröbel.

Acne Studios featured an orange-dyed cow print jacket. Photo: WGSN.

Don’t throw out comfort and stretch, but update them with visible grain direction, for example. People want to feel good, he said. On the other hand, there is also a trend towards western themes. “We’re back into a proper western cowboy trend,” Wröbel said. Think ecru fabrics, indigo lace, golden dirty tints, brown fabrications and fancy weaves. But shake it up a bit, he added. Denim silhouettes are also getting an update: slim and skinny aren’t dead, but they are getting new lengths. Skinny jeans, for example, get extra-long inseams. Baggy jeans are also on the way, he said, adding that while fashion designers have featured them in their catwalk collections we haven’t yet seem them available on the street. Wide legs need long vertical drapes, and streaky denim, logos and fabric piercing, acid washes, checkerboard jacquards and geometric designs work well on them. And denim mills should stop treating sustainability as a trend, he added. “For the third or fourth year in a row, we have an ecological theme in trends. This shouldn’t be the case. When the Titanic went into the water, a trend reporter didn’t write that swimming is a trend.”

Past influences 2020 footwear

Burberry (above left) and Loewe (above right) showcase silhouettes that form part of the Freestyle footwear trend for 2020.

Cultural references also come to play in one of the 2020 footwear trends predicted by MICAM, the trade show for leather and fashion footwear. Freestyle is influenced by a variety of cultural references and design influences. This gender fluid trend also challenges conventions, celebrating freedom of expression. As such, expect the unexpected (colour combinations) as well as clashing patterns. Matte gold, flame orange, plaster, purple and retro yellow are the dominant colours, To p20

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p20 :: Apparel & Footwear

Fendi and Chloe feature footwear that fall in the Purpose Full trend.

2020 trends cont. from p19 which are used in plaid, tie-dye, animal prints and text over imagery. Footwear silhouettes in this trend are potentially the next Dad sneaker*, with vulcanized outsoles and aggressive treads being key elements. Penny loafers, sneakers, lace-ups as well as low hikers in a mixture of materials are

popular styles in this trend. The Purpose Full trend draws influence from the past and brings with it nostalgia. Vintage sources include ditsy floral wallpaper prints as well as retro geometrics. The colours in this trend are both retro and contemporary, such as avocado green, syn-

thetic lemon, bright pink, dull apricot, bluegrey, as well as brown. Mary Jane heels, pumps with slanted pump heels, and almond toe pull-on knee boots can be seen in this trend. Men’s styles include monk trap cap-toe shoes, lace-ups with dot perforations and pinking, as well as casual lace-ups with chunky sneaker soles. Light Magic is the third trend predicted by MICAM: one that is based on mystical colour, romantic flourishes and gothic designs.. The trend features shades of grey, violet and maroon with pale absinthe, dew grey and pink salt in the women’s footwear. Crystal-embellished mules for dress and exaggerated granny boots as well as 90s style chunky brogues feature. Men’s footwear is casual, featuring midi hikers and waterproof duck boots with red, teal and leafy colours adding a sportier feel. There is also dress boots with Dandy-like stacked heel ankle boots and asymmetrical side zippers that add a touch of rocker. * A footwear trend that appeared last year. It is dominated by sneakers with thick soles and uppers featuring curvy lines in bright hues or neon colours. The nostalgic style has more of a sporty look than the chic silhouette that tends to be the norm in athleisure fashion.

Business must change world for better


usiness should create a positive impact beyond profit, say 93% of the 2 200 CEOs who responded to the 2019 Global Leadership Survey conducted in December 2018 and early January 2019 by the global leadership organisation YPO. They shared these findings during a panel discussion entitled Profit with Purpose: A New Global Model during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. The CEO respondents indicated that they wanted to make a positive impact on society through their business, rather than through politics. They believe the biggest obstacles to making this impact are government regulations (51%) and taxation (27%). Political unrest was identified as the biggest constraint by respondents in Africa (32%) and 39% in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while on average only 19% of respondents from other regions identified unrest as an obstacle. The CEOs identified their top three concerns for the future as lack of quality education (37%), climate change (37%), and peace, justice and global institutions (30%). More specifically, lack of education was a major issue for business leaders from Latin America (56%) and the US (41%). European (48%) and Asian (41%) respondents cited climate change as their major concern, which is higher than the 37% of all survey respondents who identified climate as a concern. The leaders are working towards addressing these concerns through their businesses by ensuring the company makes a positive difference

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

(57%), creates jobs and prosperity for people (49%) and teaches/mentors others (43%). Additionally, reducing waste and having an environmental impact were key focal points for participants in Asia and Europe (44%) and Africa (43%). A large majority of the respondents (74%) say their perspective on their role as a business leader has changed in the past five years. The biggest influencers for change were employees (43%), colleagues (40%) and their children (37%).

Comparing young leaders In another concurrent survey, YPO got responses from 1 800 future leaders, aged 18-31 with at least some college education, to see how their thoughts on these same topics compared to those of the current stewards of business. This group overwhelmingly agreed (92%) that the purpose of business is to have an impact on society, beyond pursuing profits and wealth. Climate change (37%) was also a top concern among this younger generation and more than half of those surveyed (55%) want to reduce their environmental impact. Lack of quality education (27%) availability of work opportunities and economic growth (24%) and peace, justice and global institutions (22%) were also important concerns for the future leaders. They do, however, differ from their elders on the biggest impediments to making an impact. Instead of government regulations, the future leaders believe corruption (42%) and business leaders not being in interested in doing more (32%) are the real obstacles to making an impact.

Apparel & Footwear :: p21

Halo Sport 2

Move ECG

Matrix PowerWatch 2

Tech drives innovation


earables shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January had helpful features such as emergency assistance and new integrated charging options. There are even headphones that stimulates the brain while working out. The Halo Sport 2 headphones use neuropriming to stimulate the wearer’s motor cortex, which makes the brain more potent so that the wearer can get more out. The intensity of the priming layer, situated in the headband area, can be adjusted to suit the wearer. It’s designed for the everyday person who wants to get that little bit extra, be it to work out, study, focus, etc.

Detect heart problems early Withings’ Move ECG watch is touted as the first analogue watch with ECG functionality. It is able to take an electrocardiogram on-demand to help detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), a serious form of irregular heart rhythm that can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath and heart failure. It is the most common heart arrhythmia and a risk for strokes. Move ECG uses three electrodes to ensure accuracy: two in the main body of the watch and the third in the stainless steel bezel. Recording is activated when the user touches both sides of the bezel, and it takes less than 30 seconds for the sensors to finish measurement after which it syncs automatically with the Health Mate app that displays if the heart is beating normally or not. It also tracks fitness activities. Additionally Withings has the Move hybrid watch, which also tracks fitness skills, but does not include the extended health tracking capabilities of the ECG version. Another smart device that can be used to detect AFib is the Aura smartstrap for the Apple Watch. It uses BIA-retrieved biomarkers (a four-point electrode system) that can track lungs and breathing changes and compare this data with pulse data. This bioimpedance tech is also used to track body composition and hydration levels. The

electrodes track weight loss and changes in the body to give a more accurate breakdown of body fat and muscle mass percentage. To take a measurement, the user needs to use the Aura app on the smartwatch, push the button on the strap and hold the electrodes for 5 seconds. Data can be synced with the Apple HealthKit and reviewed to better evaluate the user’s health status. The strap is waterproof up to 50m and the replaceable battery can last up to 9 months.

Above: Coolpad Dyno Below: Aura for Apple smartwatch

Sun and body heat charge battery In addition to being able to use solar power to charge from, PowerWatch 2 from Matrix also uses thermoelectrics to turn body heat into power, which means the user will have barely any reason to need to plug it in to charge via a cable. The smartwatch features GPS, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, a calorie counter, is water resistant to 200m and has a full-colour display. Matrix is also working on being able to incorporate heart rate data with its calorie counting data, as well as to automatically detect the type of workout that the user is taking part in for running, cycling and swimming. The latter will be implemented via a firmware update after release.

Emergency help Designed for use by kids between the ages of four and nine, the Coolpad Dyno smartwatch can help parents keep an eye on their kids. It includes a step counter, allows kids to make two-way calls and send messages to approved contacts, has a SOS button that calls emergency contacts, and parents can also set designated areas where their kids should stay in.

Samsung smart shoe for runners? SAMSUNG HAS filed a patent that hints that it might develop a smart sport shoe with sensors and supporting app. The patent reveals the shoes can be activated in one of two ways: pulling the tab located on the back of the shoe, or buttons hidden behind a cover, which could be on the back of the shoe. It’s unclear what activities might be able to be tracked, but the patent suggests it’ll be aimed at casual runners and not only professionals. Shoe materials suggest the shoes will be made from a mix of leathers and synthetic materials. This isn’t Samsung’s first step into the sport arena. Last year it launched its SmartSuit, designed for athletes at the 2018 Olympic winter games and which was meant to help them train. It had also previously launched lofit shoes, aimed at golf players, through Kickstarter.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

Innovation makes the difference

p22 :: Industry


t can sometimes be a tough decision for a retailer: spend money on implementing a new system that may or may not pay off, or spend that money on improving your stores or opening new ones? To stay ahead of the game, however, innovation has to happen. The majority (93%) of Retail Winners want to be seen as leaders in innovation and only 7% as fast followers, the Ramping Up Retail Innovation* report by RSR (Retail Systems Research) reveals. Retail Winners are defined as retailers with sales above the industry average. In contrast, 60% of other retailers want to be seen as leaders and 34% as fast followers … and there is even still the 4% that want to first see the innovation and then still think about if they’re interested in taking part. Additionally, only 21% of nonWinner respondents think they are more innovative than others in their retail vertical and 32% in their revenue band — respectively, 59% and 51% of Winners responded positively to these statements. Most retailers (88% of Winners, 68% of others) agree that information is critical to their success, but this also highlights that a third of non-Winners don’t see information as important. More than half (61%) of Winners and 36% of others agree that they need to do more experimentation to improve the shopping experience in order to succeed. RSR also asked retailers which innovations are very important in their companies. “Almost all Retail Winners [93%] believe customer-facing innovations are very important, while [88%] recognise the value of automating operational processes to create the efficiencies needed in order to fund those customer innovations,” says RSR. Around two thirds of non-Winners (72% and 68% respectively) responded the same. Only 38% of non-Winners indicated that new product develop-

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

ment is very important in their companies, while 73% of Winners said it is. If there’s no development in products, you can start to see why almost half (47%) of non-Winners indicated that we feel like we’re being left behind, other retailers move more quickly is one of their top three business challenges that drive them to innovate (only 17% of Winners responded the same). Amazon is seen as a big challenge that leads them to innovate, 83% of Winners and 66% of others responded when asked what their top three business challenges are that are driving their innovations. We need operational efficiencies to fund our customer initiatives as well as customer expectations continue to rise are also top drivers for respondents (73% of Winners and 70% of others). “They are expected to deliver top and bottom lines, which leaves little money for innovation and a lot of investor frustration. This is a circle that must be broken if they are to find success.”

Opportunities Providing a better customer experience tops respondents’ top three opportunities that they expect to come from a successful innovation (71% of Winners of 68% of non-Winners). Building customer loyalty is also in the top three for Winners. Non-Winners see increased revenue and improved bottom line as their top opportunities. This highlights how non-Winners focus on the end goal, instead of how they can reach it. “This is not to say that Retail Winners don’t care about increasing top and bottom lines: that would be ludicrous. However, when forced to play lifeboat and select their top-three opportunities, Winners look to the means, not the end.”

Measure innovation Once they’ve implemented an innovation, how do they measure

Top three business challenges driving innovation We feel like we’re being left behind, other retailers move more quickly We have long-term store leases and must find a way to make them more…


17% 23% 20% 23%

Investors are demanding it


Customer expectations continue to rise

70% 73%

We need operational efficiencies to fund our customer initiatives

70% 73%

Amazon and other competitors are encroaching into our space Others

Winners 0%

66% 20%




83% 100%

Source: RSR Research, September 2018

the success? ROI, customer satisfaction and positive cash flow are the most frequent ways in which Retail Winners measure the success of an innovation. Other retailers also see customer satisfaction and ROI as good ways to measure, but they also measure it by traffic and conversion. “Retail Winners go straight for the bottom line. In other words, they expect innovation to drive concrete results. They look for return on investment, while nonWinners tend to cleave to improving traffic and conversion in both web sites and stores. One would generally expect traffic and conversion to be an outcome of customer satisfaction (which almost two thirds of all retailers cite as a top-three success metric).” Non-Winners tend to look to the end, and not always the means to the end, the authors add.

who have done it first.

Idea sources

How are ideas tested?

Various sources will influence thinking to create new ideas. Customers and internal are the biggest business-related sources of new ideas for 73% and 71% of Winners. Non-Winners are likely to use other retailers (45%), or customers, adjacent industries, or adopt others’ innovations are their own (43% each). “Clearly, Retail Winners listen to their customers, and also clearly, they’ve got some pretty good thinkers within their own enterprise. The implication there is that they give their employees the time and space to think about ways and technologies to improve the business.” Other sources include current vendors, consultants and other technology companies. Using vendors as a source of new ideas places a bigger onus on these suppliers to create innovative labs and experiment with new ideas themselves.

When asked about the top two ways they test out new ideas, two thirds of Winners indicated that they use pilot programs. This is the single largest way among Winners, with the second highest response being focus groups, followed closely by A/B tests. Non-Winners also use pilot programs (45%) and focus groups (43%), but the next highest response (40%) is we look for others

* RSR uses its own model, the BOOT Methodology, which helps them better understand the behavioural and technological differences that drive sustainable sales improvements and successful execution of brand vision. The survey was conducted in June and July 2018 and received answers from 103 qualified retail respondents. Quarter of respondents reported more than $5-bn revenue for 2017, 30% between $1-bn and $5-bn, and the rest reported revenue below $1-bn.

Industry :: p23

December sales

Mixed results for

holiday sales

It was the good, the bad and the ugly for retailers selling sport, outdoor and lifestyle goods during the past holiday season. While some reported excellent sales, others bemoaned the disappointing results — but overall the respondents to the Sports Trader annual holiday sales survey reported more good news than bad. By Trudi du Toit


a-no well fine with a few terribles and excellents added on either end. That just about sums up the feedback we received from retailers in the industry (sport, outdoor and lifestyle) about their Christmas holiday and early January sales. But, overall, there was more good news than bad reported in our annual Sports Trader Holiday Sales Survey*. The results reported also showed an improvement from the holiday period the year before. A third of the respondents reported 10-20% year-on-year sales growth in December. Although many retailers and their suppliers during the year often said that 2018 was as bad as it gets, a further quarter of the respondents reported that their sales were none worse than the previous year. Compared to the year before (December 2017) industry retailers were considerably more positive in 2018. In 2017 nearly a third of the respondents reported a low growth of 10% or less, only 10% reported sales growth of 1020% and 8% had exceptional growth in sales. In 2017 more than a quarter (28%) reported that their sales were slightly down on the year before, but 15% said their sales were up to 20%

down from the year before. In December 2018 the percentage of respondents who said their sales were significantly higher than the previous December was the same (13%) as those who reported significantly lower sales. “We experienced growth for December at an average of 10% in like-for-like stores and a total growth of 42.5%, which includes our six new stores,” says a respondent who describes himself as an independent sport and lifestyle retailer. And despite the negative reports from many in the trade, “2018 was brilliant, I grew 50%

December 2017 vs 2018 sales Up 0-10% up 10-20% up 20%+ up Down 0-10% down 10-20% down 20%+ down

2017 32% 10% 8% 2017 28% 15% 3%

2018 3% 31% 13% 2018 10% 10% 13%

year on year,” says online sports retailer Patric Kalous of Racketlon SA. “Christmas and January was just the cherry on the top.” As can be expected, the retailers who recorded lower sales than in December 2017 describe their December sales as disappointing — although a small number philosophically describe it as “about what I expected”. Interestingly, even though they reported sales growth of 10-20% more than the year before, several of the respondents from chain stores described their holiday sales as disappointing. Half of the respondents who reported a sales increase of 10-20% say this was what they expected. Most of the retailers whose sales were about the same as the year before did not have high expectations, as 71% say it was “about what they expected.” A representative from a major lifestyle footwear and clothing chain was, To p24 * The Holiday Sales Survey is conducted every January/February by Sports Trader among South African retailers in the industry. The 2018 respondents are predominantly (95%) independents that sell sporting goods and clothing (26%), sport and outdoor goods (20%) Outdoor gear and clothing (13%), and lifestyle footwear and clothing (42%). Respondents are given the option to respond anonymously, and most do.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p24 :: Industry

Mixed holiday sales (cont from p23)

Black Friday participation

however, pleasantly surprised that their sales were on par with the year before.

Entry level and functional It would seem that the economy has curbed consumers’ ability to splash out on the luxuries for Christmas. The largest group of respondents (44%) say their customers predominantly bought mid-priced functional goods, followed by 34% who said they mainly sold entry level necessities to mid-priced functional items in December. This is a buy-down from 2017 when 59% of the respondents said their customers mainly bought mid-priced functional items and 21% sold mainly entry-level items. In many instances these included back to school gear, which would have been precipitated by the earlier start of the school year. Nearly half (46%) of the retailers who sell sports goods also report higher sales compared to last year for December, which is usually a relatively quiet period for sporting goods retailers — which could be linked to buying backto-school sportsgear as Christmas gifts. The early opening of the schools also benefitted outfitters supplying schoolwear. “We had a good December, followed by a good start to January because of the schools,” says Ashraf Laher of Rand Outfitters. January also started positively for almost half (46%) of the respondents, who reported that their sales were better than the year before — although the survey was conducted towards the middle of the month before the full-month’s sales figures could be compared. The highest number (26%) reported modest growth of 10% and lower in January, but 16% experienced excellent growth of more than 20%. On the flip side, 23% reported January sales that were up to 10% lower than the year before and 13% said their sales were up to 20% lower.

Black Friday positive Call it a sign of the times, but it seems that because more cash-strapped customers are nowadays hunting for good deals, retailers in the industry are becoming more accpeting of the Black Friday sales frenzy. Only 14% of the respondents to our holiday sales survey did not offer Black Friday deals at the end of November. On the other hand, 45% participated fully by offering substantial (more than 20%) discounts and a further 28% offered discounts of between 10-20%. Compared to the negativity of previous years — and the damned if you do, damned if you don’t attitude before the event — 59% of the respondents felt that Black Friday had a positive impact on their businesses. The retailers who had a positive experience with Black Friday mainly attribute it to the fact that the mark-down sales day enabled

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

them to clear old stock and also because it attracted new customers to their stores. Nearly half (45%) of the respondents who offered substantial discounts say it had a positive impact on their businesses. The retailers who reported a negative impact from Black Friday complained that their December sales were down because consumers bought their Christmas presents at discount prices on Black Friday … or worse, that their regular customers went bargain-hunting elsewhere. Only a fifth said that Black Friday had no impact on their December sales. This is quite a shift from December 2017 when 36% respondents did not participate in Black Friday sales. More than a quater (28%) of the respondents then said Black Friday affected their December sales negatively, and 42% said that Black Friday had no impact on their December sales. Of the 30% who believed that Black Friday had a positive impact on their sales in 2017, 22% reported that it helped them clear stock and 8% said it attracted new customers to their store.

Outlook for the year When the year started, most of the retail respondents only saw doom and gloom for the year ahead — but that was before we received some good news in January like a 0.4% drop in unemployment numbers, overall manufacturing and retail sale improvements, a trade surplus, a drop in the petrol price, international investment promises, the release of a United Nations report that foreign direct investment into South Africa had grown 446% from $1.3-bn in 2017 to $7.1-bn (R98.6-bn) in 2018. Instead, they concentrated on the reality of consumers getting poorer every year as prices go up due to the higher VAT and petrol price, while salary increases remain low. And that was before the power outages started. Therefore, early in January less than a fifth

The retailers who had a positive experience with Black Friday mainly attribute it to the fact that the mark-down sales day enabled them to clear old stock and also because it attracted new customers to their stores of the retailers said that they expected a good year in 2019 — and they were mainly retailers who had a good year in 2018. Some did feel positive. “The last five months of 2018 showed some positive growth and with the drought no longer an issue we are expecting more growth in 2019,” says Jeremy Hare of the Great White Sport & Surf Wetsuit Warehouse. “I expect the (positive) trend to continue for the first quarter because we still have good stock left,” adds Laher. “The reason for all this is that we were better prepared for our customers’ needs compared to the previous year and we had depth in stock in the lines that mattered. Also, a little discounting on one or two brands helped.” Others have pinned their hopes to renewed consumer confidence after the election on 8 May. “I am positive that after the election consumer and business confidence will bounce back,” says an anonymous outdoor retailer who hopes that his good sales will continue in 2019. But, 16% of the respondents had a more cynical outlook: 2018 was such a bad year that things can just improve, they believe. “The economy will remain weak and I expect consumers will not have much money to spend. I don't believe there will be much change from 2018,” Frankie Sequeira of Novels Sport in De Aar sums up the feedback from the majority (55%) of respondents.

Results from listed retailers The good-bad feedback from the mainly independent respondents to the Sports Trader Holiday Survey is reflected in the holiday sales figures reported by listed retailers. Although they paint an even more dismal picture. Fewer visitors to popular holiday spots could be a further indication of the purse-pinch experienced by most consumers. For example, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town had 2% fewer, Kirstenbosch 5% fewer and Groot Constantia 23% fewer visitors in December than in 2017. • Massmart reported a low 0.1% sales growth in November and December, despite satisfactory sales over the Black Friday period, and a disappointing 0.9% drop for comparable store sales. January 2019 started better, with 4.6% total and 3.1% comparable stores sales growth reported in the first three weeks.

A tale of two Tekkies

Industry :: p25


he Christmas Holiday period was good for South Africa’s youngest footwear chain, Mr Tekkie, says CEO Bernard Mostert. “At a conservative estimate, our expectations have been exceeded. We are very happy with where we are. People like our name, our service and our product offering.” But, in a hard-hitting press release, the former owners and management of Tekkie Town expressed their sadness about the continued softer performance in footwear reported by Pepkor in the trading update until 31 December. With no prior trading period to compare (“we are the only group that Mr Tekkie CEO Bernard Mostert helping to serve customers in the George store. can boast of 100% growth,” Mostert jokes) Mr Tekkie can only judge Photo: supplied. their success by customer feedback and feet through the doors. “We While Tekkie Town was managed by the Mostert-Van Huyssteen team, had a good December and it seems that the customers like what we it enjoyed consecutive growth exceeding 22% without diluting gross orare offering.” nett margins for the December trading periods between 2015 to 2017. The street lifestyle customers that Mr Tekkie attracts are quite differUntil last year, before Van Huyssteen’s management team departed, ent from the customers they got to know at Tekkie Town, and for many they enjoyed EBITDA margin of greater than 20.5% for seven consecucustomers the stores were somewhat of a tourist attraction. tive years, the former Tekkie Town team say in a statement. Mostert was, for example, helping out as a shop assistant in their “This set of results is disturbing given that we are fighting a huge batGeorge store in the days before Christmas and he was amazed at how tle to protect our interest in the business and to restore our ownership many people stopped by to chat and express their support. “It was following the Steinhoff scandal,” says Mosclear that for many people we have betert. “We have long lived by the credo that come the face of the fight-back against the business does not serve us, but that we Steinhoff,” he says. Many people shared It was clear that for many peoserve the business. For now, that culture the often-harrowing tales of their losses ple we have become the face of has been lost.” due to the Steinhoff share collapse and the fight-back against Steinhoff Tekkie Town was bought by Steinhoff from wished Mr Tekkie well in their court cases Van Huyssteen and shareholders, including against the company. management members, at the end of 2016 Sadly, consumers were not so kind to Tekin a share swap deal that now appears to have been rather dubious. kie Town, which is still part of the Speciality Division of the Steinhoff It was transferred to the subsidiary, Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR), at subsidiary, Pepkor. “For us, it is particularly tragic to see the dismal the end of 2017 as part of the Speciality footwear and clothing division, performance produced by Pepkor’s Speciality Division,” says Braam Van which includes Pepkor’s stores like Shoe City, Dunns, John Craig, etc. The Huyssteen, founder and former owner of Tekkie Town, which forms the former Tekkie Town management team was appointed to turn around the core of the Speciality Division. former loss-making Speciality division, which now included Tekkie Town. According to the latest Pepkor trading update, the Speciality Division Although Steinhoff is the 71% majority shareholder, the STAR name grew only 7% in the last quarter of 2018 compared to Q4 2017, despite was changed back to Pepkor after the scandal broke. an aggressive roll-out of stores. Like-on-like growth was a low 3%. The Following a fall-out with the Pepkor managers who stepped in when previous year, while the current Mr Tekkie team was still running the the former Steinhoff team departed, just about all the former Tekkie Speciality Division, they grew revenue 20% and produced like-on-like Town managers and owners, as well as about 100 staff members, left growth of 12.5%. in June last year. They subsequently formed Mr Tekkie, which now has 17 stores. A chain of about 200 stores in 5-6 years’ time is a distinct possibility, they say. These will be run in conjunction with Tekkie Town, more down than up over holiday season once they get the chain back … as they hope. • Mr Price surprised analysts who expected a better performance from On January 29 Pepkor announced that Pieter Erasmus, who was Pepthe value retailer in the current economy by reporting a low growth of kor CEO before the company became part of the Steinhoff stable, had 1.1% to R6.2-bn in December. Figures are not available for MRP Sport. resigned from the Pepkor board as non-executive director to dedicate • Woolworths reported a 2% drop in sales in its SA fashion, beauty and more time to his private business interests. Erasmus left Pepkor when it home division for the 26 weeks to the end of December. became part of STAR — but in the reshuffle after the Steinhoff collapse • Edcon, which is still fighting a desperate battle for survival, reportedly he was appointed to the board. It is no secret that he was not happy negatiated a deal in December for a 41% rent holiday for twe years with that the former Tekkie Town owners were appointed to run the Speciallandlords in exchange for shares. and bring in new shareholders like PIC. ity Division and that he and Van Huyssteen were not best friends. The retailer reported encouraging sales in December. Erasmus was appointed as a member of the Pepkor Human Resources • Shoprite/Checkers confirms what many independents experienced, and Remuneration committee at the end of November last year. At the namely that over the Christmas period back-to-school sales outperformed time Pepkor announced via SENS that three executives (Leon Lourens traditional discretionary purchases such as toys for the first time. January Pepkor CEO, Riaan Hanekom Pepkor CFO and Jaap Hamman CEO Pep) sales of its back-to-school essentials also showed healthy growth. They ofhad been granted share rights in terms of the Pepkor Long Term Perforfered large back-to-school promotions, including discounts. mance Share Rights Scheme. • TFG — just about the only harbinger of good news with nine-month Pepkor’s refusal to acknowledge the performance bonus agreement turnover growth of 22.7% and African comparable same-store growth of between Steinhoff and the former Tekkie Town team was one of the 6.3% driven by Black Friday sales and good trade across its business in Dereasons for the staff walkout in the middle of last year and is still the cember. Figures for TFG Sports Division are unfortunately not available. subject of one of the many pending court cases.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

Safe and comfortable on the hiking trail p26 :: Outdoor

Hikers need a variety of products, both to keep them safe and to make their time out enjoyable on what is often difficult terrain. Your consumers will love, and appreciate, this selection of products, say the respective brands


t’s essential for anybody taking part in an activity to be equipped with the correct clothing, footwear and equipment for the job — especially in hiking, where being under-equipped could be dangerous. Hiking takes the participant off the beaten track and away from civilisation, which means that he’ll need to take everything and anything he needs with him to cater for any situation that may arise. As a retailer, it’s therefore important to know which products suppliers have available to you, and what these products offer.

The right boot for the job The correct boot is a crucial piece of equipment that a hiker should pay special attention to as it will keep his feet safe and steady on rocky trails and the pain of ill-fitting boots could bring a hike to an agonising end. In addition to the various technical features that will keep the foot safe, boots therefore also need to be comfortable. Zamberlan’s Rolle Evo GTX trekking boot (left) caters to the hiker who will be carrying a medium-weight backpack. The lowered back line improves fit and heel locking, while the upper is waterproof and breathable and reinforcement protects the toe. The FlexSystem junction on the ankle area helps with flexibility, a PU wedge adds cushioning and the Vibram Curcuma outsole enhances traction, grip and durability. It is available from Traverse Outdoor Gear. Comfort and safety were at the top of mind when making Hi-Tec’s Wild-Fire Gamekeeper boot (below right). The heel on this men’s boot has reflective webbing for safety and moulded chassis for added stability and protection, the lightweight and durable fork shank ensures flexibility and even more stability, and the OrthoLite Im-

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

pressions sock liner has slow recovery foam for cushioning. Additionally, a soft, mesh lining adds to the comfort and feet are kept dry with the Dri-Tec waterproof and breathable membrane. Other features include the exo-skeletal highperformance Stabila-Clip cradle for torsional flexibility on all terrains, a Multi-Directional Traction (MDT) rubber outsole for added grip and durability, and adjustable 3D non-slip laces for a personalised fit. Hi-Tec’s Outdoor Crossover collection is designed for wear from the city to the trail. Ravus Quest (below), which forms part of this collection, is a mid boot with a full grain leather upper featuring synthetic trim and breathable mesh underlay for a secure, yet comfortable fit. Other features include the DriTec waterproof membrane, padded collar and tongue, gusseted tongue to keep out debris, and a rustproof hardware lacing system for a secure fit. The removable EVA insole and compression moulded EVA midsole provide comfort, the lightweight, durable fork shank ensures flexibility, and the MDT outsole provides grip. The boot is available in men’s and women’s styles.

Clothing to protect The weather can put a damper on a hiking trip if the hiker isn’t kitted out correctly, and this includes the clothing he wears. Getting wet, for example, is unpleasant and can cut a trip short. Your hiking customer will therefore appreciate a jacket such as Hi-Tec’s Orion, a 3-in-1 technical hiking jacket that has a waterproof outer. Remember to point out how handy 3-in-1 jackets are, and that he’s getting two jackets and three ways to wear them in one purchase: in these times of economic crunch, knowing he’ll get more might

soften the deal and make your customer more eager to part with his hard-earned money. If your customers plan to hike in colder temperatures, they’ll want thermal wear as well. ColdPrufe from Outdoor Supply Company has them covered with thermal vests and long johns, available for men, ladies and kids (right). The clothing is made from a blend of polyester, spandex and Viloft, which is made from natural eucalyptus wood pulp, sourced from managed plantations. Viloft is completely biodegradable and creates natural climate control with special fibres that create air pockets for thermal insulation, moisture wicking and breathability.

Socks for foot comfort Falke’s Advance range of hiking socks (below), on the other hand, are designed with warm weather in mind and will cool feet down. They also feature ergonomic left and right construction for the perfect fit. The Advance Hike Cool 2 crew sock is for the everyday hiker who will be hiking in warmer temperatures. It’s made with drynamix yarn that wicks away moisture to keep the foot dry, and has full foot cushioning in addition to a rib cuff for comfort and support. Its knitted mesh panels create ventilation and cooling, and it also features the drynamix yarn. The Advance Hike 1 is a low-cut sock To p28

p28 :: Outdoor

Hikers’ kit cont. from p26

that has especially been designed to help guard against undesired fauna commonly found in warmer climates: an integrated antitick and mosquito treatment that lasts for up to 20 washes. It also features the knitted mesh panels and drynamix yarn. Hike Wool also features the anti-tick and mosquito treatment. It’s specifically designed for longer hikes as well as hikers who’ll venture into colder climates, but it can be used in any climate as the wool is temperature controlling — keeping the wearer warm in cold and cool in warm temperatures. The sock is also made with full foot cushioning for comfort and support.

New in backpacks A backpack is another essential item to add to a hiker’s arsenal, but, as there are different types, he needs to be told what can be used when. A daypack, for example, is good for shorter trips, but also has the added bonus of also being useful in everyday situations. Hi-Tec’s Milloy 35L (left), for example, works well for day-to-day use, on a shorter technical hike, or even to use while travelling. It has a unisex fit, is made from 100% polyester and includes a hydration system. De Wet Sports’s Medalist brand offers a variety of daypacks for short hikes. For example, the Flipside (20L), Rover (27L) and Venture (20L), which are hydration compatible. Another hydration compatible pack, Escape 28L, features quad compression straps and a hip belt, in addition to water bottle pockets, the padded breathable back, and two main compartments. Storage after use is often a hassle, so it’s handy when a product offers its own storage solution. The Medalist Pack-Lite daypack is foldable into its own tiny pocket, which allows the user to pack it into a suitcase to have an extra bag at his destination, without taking up much space. The Medalist hiking packs were designed with added technical features that will be needed by a hiker, for example extra support and breathability. Medalist’s Nomad 38L and Trail Scout 50L (right) hiking packs both feature s-curve shoulder straps with breathable mesh padding, hip belts for support, water bottle pockets, bungee cord gear stashes as well as a variety of stash pockets. Nomad also

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

Ace Camp has a water resistant flashlight that is rechargeable with a three stage switch, including a S.O.S. signal mode for emergency situations. It emits a 1 000 lm beam, has an aircraft-grade aluminum and polycarbonate lens, and doubles as a power bank (4 400mAh). Photo supplied by Ace Camp distributor, Outdoor Supply Company.

has a back panel with breathable mesh padding and side compression straps. Trail Scout has a sculptured back system with removable aluminium rods, an integrated rain cover, trekking pole loops, dual compression straps and a removable phone pouch.

Lights to walk by Hikers that will end their trip in low light as well as overnighters will need something to help them safely see the trail towards the end of the day and to get around camp. Black Diamond has updated its 325 lumen (lm) Spot headlamp (right) with several useful features. For a start, it’s now housed in a smaller, more efficient design with a lower profile for better balance, that it is more ergonomic for added comfort, and the housing has an IPX8 waterproof rating. Its user interface has also been updated with a second switch for easy lens mode selection, and the Brightness Memory feature allows the user to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness. Its brightness can instantly be adjusted and it offers peripheral lighting for close-range activities. The brand’s Cosmo headlamp (225 lm at max) is also housed in a compact, watertight housing (that is ergonomic with a lower profile for improved balance, has a second switch for easy lens selection, and has updated optical efficiency that not only provides brighter light but also saves battery life. Cosmo also has red night vision with dimming and strobe modes that the user can activate without having to cycle through the white mode. Black Diamond is distributed locally by Ram Mountaineering. Ace Camp’s LED headlamp (next column top) has a two-mode backlight that allows others to see the user from behind

— a feature that will be handy for the hiker during other activities as well. Its anodized aluminium front light can be adjusted. The battery case is also positioned at the rear. Ace Camp is distributed by Outdoor Supply Company. Medalist’s Cosmo 3 and 6 headlamps feature bright, long life LEDs, tiltable bodies to adjust the beam’s angle and fully adjustable headstraps. Cosmo 3 features two white LEDs and one red, while Cosmo 6 has four white LEDs and two red. The Spark and Micro headlamps also feature two red LEDs, tiltable lamp bodies and fully adjustable headstraps, but Spark offers 80 lm and two modes (Full and Flashing), while Micro offers 25 lm and four modes (High, Mid, Low and Flashing). The Starburst headlamp (right) has a fully adjustable headstrap and tiltable lamp body to allow the user to get the best personalised fit. The headlamp features a zoom function, three light modes (Full, Low and Flashing), offers 180 lm, a 150m beam range, and has an aluminium and ABS body.

Light around the campsite Ledlenser’s rechargeable ML6 lantern is small, powerful and convenient to take on a hike. It offers glare-free illumination of the surroundings. The lantern, which can emit up to 750

Outdoor :: p29

A nice drink to cool or warm your customer, either out on the trail or at the camp at the end of a day’s hike, is always appreciated. For this, he’ll need the right flask, such as Klean Kanteen’s new TKPro to keep the liquid at the right temperature. Photo supplied by Awesome Tools.

lm, also features three switches for easy operation, a built-in battery indicator, and the light can smoothly be dimmed and brightened. The ML6 (right) can also be used as a power bank (3 200mAh battery) to recharge other electronic devices via USB, can be used in a variety of settings with its rubber hook, removable stand with an built-in hook and integrated magnet, and its fluorescent elements make it easier to find in the dark. The rubber hook also has a IP54 waterproof sealing for the USB ports. It will therefore also come in handy during urban power outages. ML6 features the Smart Light technology with Every Saving (optimizes burning life) and Constant Current (electronically controlled, continuous light output) modes. It also allows the user to choose between three light modes (Professional, Easy and Tactical Defence) with pre-set lighting functions: Morse (sends individual signal sequences), Power (high output), Low Power (for glare-free reading and working), Dim (set the individual desired light intensity), Blink (sends light pulses that are useful as a signal to mark a position), S.O.S. for emergency situations, and Defence Strobe (sends high-frequency light flashes that can be used as a non-lethal defence method). Ledlenser is distributed by Awesome Tools. Ace Camp offers two LED Glow flashlights, small and large (see top of p28). The small light, which can easily be carried on the wrist or in a pocket, can be used as a glow stick, flashlight, flasher or a whistle. The large one can be used as a torch, emergency flashlight, lantern or a waterproof storage capsule. It can also float on water. Flare 9, in Medalist’s torch range, has nine bright, long life LEDs, an aluminium body, weighs 55g without batteries and comes with a wrist lanyard. The Nebula and Meteor flashlights both feature three modes (Full, Low and Flashing), offer 120 lm and a beam range of 150m, have alu-

minium bodies, CREE Q3 3W LEDs, have zoom capabilities and come with wrist lanyards. Meteor is also rechargeable. The lantern range has products featuring between 100 and 250 lm, and which have durable ABS bodies. Radiate, with 250 lm, has carry handles that can fold down, is water resistant, lightweight and compact, and offers 360o of illumination. It also has the handy feature where the user can pull it up to turn on and push down to turn the light off. The 150 lm lightbulb LED lanterns are lightweight and compact, have three light modes (High, Low and Strobe), can give up to 10 hours of light on high, and have integrated hanging hooks. Glow (100 lm), is rechargeable via USB, lightweight and compact, can easily be attached with its flexible charging cable loop and is water resistant. It also features three modes (Full, Low, Flashing).

Liquids at the right temperature No matter the length of the hike route, hikers will need to keep their bodies hydrated. This means carrying liquids, and they thus need products to carry it in — and keep the liquid at the preferred temperature, be it hot or cold. Klean Kanteen’s TKPro canteen (top of the page) has been designed to keep hot and cold drinks at their optimal temperatures for hours on end, which means the hiker can enjoy his favourite drink while away. This plastic-free thermal canteen, launched in January 2019, features Climate Lock double-wall vacuum insulation, an integrated double-wall stainless steel cup, an electropolished 18/8 food-grade stainless steel interior that doesn’t keep or give off flavours, is leakproof and easy to clean, and is BPA free. Additionally, the outside has Klean Kanteen’s chip-resistant finish that keeps products looking good for longer and increases durability. Klean Kanteen is distributed by Awesome Tools. Ram Mountaineering recently launched three new GSI Outdoors insulated flasks that are exceptionally lightweight and designed

to keep liquids hot or warm. Microlite 1000 Twist will keep liquids warm for 18 hours and cold for 32, Microlite 720 Twist will keep warm for 12 hours and cold for 24, and Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 for 10 and 20 hours respectively. These lightweight flasks have thin, 2mm walls that create a compact footprint and allow the user to pack them in small spaces. They also use 18/8 stainless steel for purity and durability. To make it easier to use in cold weather, even while wearing gloves, they each have a secure screw-top cap with a leverage-enhancing lobe. They also have leashes for convenient attachment. Medalist’s Adventure flask is also has a cap made to be leakproof. It’s BPA free and made from food-grade stainless steel. The Ranger vacuum flask will keep liquid warm for up to 8 hours and cold for 12 hours. It features a stainless steel double wall, leakproof cap and is also BPA free.

Handy accessories Plagued by insects and mosquitos? Ace Camp has a solution for keeping them away: their net that can be draped over the head (right) is made from an ultra-light nylon mesh, which is ideal to take with on hikes. Should your hiking customer plan on having a meal or snack while on the route, suggest that he considers investing in a handy kit such as Opinel’s Nomad cooking kit (below), which is a smart, compact kit to make cooking away from home more enjoyable. It features three different folding pocket knives, each made for a specific task, with handles made from beechwood and stainless steel blades. The No10 corkscrew knife has a 10cm blade to cut, be used as a pairing knive and can also be used to open cork bottles. With its serrated blade, No12, can be used as a bread knife or to slice big fruits and vegetables. Another one designed for fruit and vegetables, the smaller No6 features a folding peeler. The kit also comes with a beechwood cutting board (20x12x1cm) and a 3-in-1, quickdrying microfibre kitchen towel, which acts as a towel, small tablecloth and as a carry bag. Opinel is distributed by Awesome Tools.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

Team sports such as rugby, volleyball and water polo require inflatable balls. Photos supplied by Amabokoboko (left) and Mikasa (middle and right).

Team balls stay sellers ... even when money is tight While the sports are played, teams will always need balls — even though money is getting tighter. We asked some suppliers to share information about their balls that will fit the budgets of cash-strapped customers, clubs and schools


ince 2017, the number of inflatable balls imported have been increasing, with a 23.2% jump in volume in 2017 alone compared to 2016. Last year saw a 1.2% increase over 2017. But, as a sign of the tougher economic times, the average import price of inflatable balls is going down (Rand value divided by volume), which suggests that more entry level balls are being imported than the top end brands. In 2016 the average Rand value per imported item was R32.02, but by 2017 it had gone down to R25.62. In the end it comes down to the fact that teams will always need balls to play popular sports such as rugby, soccer and netball … but in order to move them off the shelves, retailers will have to sell them at a price that customers, especially clubs and schools, can afford. And nowadays it can be summarised as not much. Combine this with the fact that brands are doing their best to keep players and teams buying their products, and retailers should take note.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

A ball for everyone In its rugby, netball and soccer ball Star ranges, W.E.T. Sports caters to a number of player levels and different playing surfaces. The two-ply Winner rugby ball, for example, is ideal as a match ball for junior schools or a skills practice ball for seniors. The ball is available in sizes 3, 4 and 5 in funky colours. Club now features the valve in a seam, which improves kicking accuracy. The three-ply rugby ball is available in sizes 4 and 5. The top-of-the-range Provincial match ball is also a three-ply with a valve in a seam, but it is geared towards seniors and is only available in a size 5. The new 2019 hand-stitched rugby ball range also incorporates new grip technology. Their soccer ball range features products for hard and soft fields. The Munchen moulded ball is designed for harder playing surfaces, is a cheaper alternative and has been a popular ball in W.E.T. Sports’ range for many years now. It is available in size 4 and 5 in a variety of colours. The range has three options for teams playing on softer surfaces: Star, Vector and Estrella.

The Star ball is a knock-about ball at a competitive price while the 4 ply Vector caters for all age groups in a size 3, 4 and 5. The 32 panel Estrella match ball is designed to bend and swerve like its more expensive counterparts. W.E.T. Sports’ netball range under its Star brand caters for players of all levels and ages, across a range of price points. Their rubber netballs, for example, are best suited to entry level players or home use. They are available in sizes 4 and 5, and in different colours. With a pimple grip, the two-ply Club stitched netball ball is aimed at intermediate players. It’s also available in sizes 4 and 5. The three-ply Tournament match ball has pronounced Ultra Grip and is aimed at club and action netball players. Provincial is their top-of-the-range match ball. It features shorter Ultra Grip, and is designed for more competitive players.

Top class local rugby Amabokoboko draws inspiration for its designs from its South African roots. “The name is of

Sport :: p31

Photo: Reg Caldecott.

Zulu origin, therefore we found it appropriate to base the design on a Zulu warrior shield,” says distributor Johan Smal of Amabokoboko Sport. “I have travelled to our supplier in India to develop a performance rugby ball that was tested by various professional kickers and players. Our objective with the Amabokoboko rugby ball is to create a truly South African performance ball.” The brand offers balls to meet a range of needs, from entry level Ubuntu balls in size 3 for 5-8 year olds, size 4 training and match balls, up to Innovator International (a size 5 ball that can be used at provincial level). Wildebees is its entry level valve in seam ball, which can be used at high school level or club rugby matches. It has been tested by kicking coaches, provincial players and Super A club league kickers, who were impressed with the range and accuracy, says Smal. The very first open club champions (College Rovers) vs Varsity Cup winners (Tukkies) played with the Amabokoboko Pride of Africa Match Ball on Kings Park in Durban in 2012, adds Smal. The balls are currently used by a few recognized rugby academies for training purposes. “The balls are specifically designed for South African conditions and we have worked on the durability as we want to improve the number of games per ball at school level.”

Affordable match & training balls Medalist’s elite size 5 stitched netball ball, Destiny, meets international netball requirements. It features the Aeroflight technology, the Nano Butyl bladder ensures air retention, and the water repellant grip means excellent grip in all conditions. Alpha, Ripple, Orange and Jazz, the moulded netball balls available from Medalist, feature a pimple texture for added grip. Alpha, Ripple and Jazz are available in sizes 4 and 5, and Orange in size 5. Two of Medalist’s moulded soccer balls are designed for hard ground playing surfaces: Dynamo and Ultima are both size 5 PVC laminated balls that are nylon bound and created to be extremely durable — perfect for the rough surfaces often found in South Africa.

Photo: Reg Caldecott.

The Kinetic soccer ball, on the other hand, is designed for soft ground. The moulded rubber ball has a golf ball surface for added grip. It’s available in sizes 4 and 5. The 32-panel Fusion, Vega and Exact balls headline the stitched soccer ball range and are designed to be used in matches. Fusion is made from pro performance PU with a double microfibre cover, a high tensile laminate system that uses four layers of polyester microfibre, a micro-cellular foam layer that creates added compression and softer headers, and is designed for optimum handling and ball control. It’s suitable for all surfaces and weather. Vega and Exact are made from elite performance PU with a high-abrasion solid PU cover and lining lamination that ensures true flight and enhances durability. Vega also has deep seams that reduce drag and improve spin, while Exact offers good aerodynamic bounce and flight and has low water uptake for all weather conditions. Versus can be used for club matches and Match for school matches. Both have 32 panels and are available in sizes 4 and 5. Revolution is an international quality rugby ball available from Medalist. It features in seam valve and Aeroflight technology for superior flight, a balanced bladder ensures the ball is balanced when kicked, and the water repellant grip provides good grip in all conditions. Its available in size 5. Ultra Grip is another rugby ball that can be used in matches. It has a 3D-patterned, rubberised grip, balanced bladder, and is available in sizes 4 and 5. The Super Star basketball features a pimple grip, is a moulded rubber ball, and available in sizes 3, 5 and 7. Slam Dunk and Jump Shot are also moulded basketballs with pimple grips in size 7. The Power Game match quality basketball is made from laminated PVC and also features a pimple grip for added hold. Medalist’s water polo ball, Rubber, has excellent grip. The moulded rubber ball is available in the official size 5 and in two designs. Medalist is distributed by De Wet Sports.

Quality match and training balls Summit, distributed by Opal Sport, offers an affordable option for high quality match and training balls in soccer, rugby and netball. Its Evolution ball range is for use in matches at all levels. The Evolution rugby ball has a soft, synthetic outer that provides exceptional grip and feel. It’s a three-ply ball with pro-poly hand stitching for better shape and strength, and polycotton lining. Its Gridlock grip technology, which improves grip and feel while allowing moisture to move off quickly, allows the Evolution Attacker netball ball to be used in all conditions and on any terrain without the players losing grip. It is made from three-ply laminate (one cotton and two with heavy polyester viscose fabrics) that enables the ball to keep its shape and durability, has an 18 panel construction, and has poly stitching for strength and shape retention. The butyl bladder also allows for long air retention, while maintaining a soft feel. Evolution X is the top of the range ball in Summit’s soccer range. It features the thermobonded seamless technology, a 32 panel construction, 1mm PU Nanya Pearl dimple grain, high rebound EVA (4mm), poly-cotton machine cross-weave for added quality, a polyester thread wound, high bounce butyl bladder and a micro-hole valve. The Advance range is for intensive training, but these balls can also be used as entry level match balls. The rugby ball is hand stitched for added quality and has Evo grip on the synthetic outer, which creates the feel of a match ball. The Advance Defender netball ball can be used on any court type. Its Evo pimple pattern replicates the feel of a match ball and the ball is made from long lasting rubber so that it lasts longer. Advance Defender is a three-ply ball with a mixture of cotton and polyester. Summit’s Evo Ignite soccer ball is made from thermos foam backed PU, which gives it a reliable match ball quality for all levels. It has a 32 panel construction, 1mm PU matte diamond grain, a polyester thread wound butyl bladder and a micro-hole valve.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p32 :: Sport

New official balls with team appeal


ertain brands used by local teams are also official ball suppliers for various international tournaments and official sporting bodies. For example, the new official FIVB indoor volleyball is the V200W from Mikasa. It will be used at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Tokyo later this year, as well as during the Tokyo Olympic Games next year. Mikasa is available locally from Pat Wiltshire Sports. The V200W features a well-balanced, 18-panel aerodynamic design that improves ball movement and gives players greater control. “With enhanced visibility, the new indoor ball will optimise the quality of play and maximise excitement on the court,” Mikasa says in a press statement. An anti-sweat application, Nano Balloon Silica, prevents the surface of the ball from becoming slippery during intense play and the double-dimpled microfibre surface stabilises the flight path of the ball to create additional cushioned ball control. The ball exceeds the FIVB’s required approval standards and passed stringent testing protocols, carried out by leading national teams and clubs during the latter half of 2018. Mikasa also supplies the ball for FIVB beach volleyball events, which are played with VLS300. The ball has a 10 panel design in contrasting colours as well as TwinSTlock (a hook and wring system that prevents stitched panels from opening up) and a soft composite cover that is sweat-, water- and heat-resistant. In addition to its relationship with FIVB, Mikasa is also the official ball for FINA’s international events, including those at the Olympic Games. In fact, Mikasa has had an association with the Olympic Games since 1964, and is the official ball for volleyball, beach volleyball and water polo. W6000W is the official FINA water polo game ball for seniors and W6009W for juniors and ladies. Both feature the wave design with highly visible colours and a good grip. Mikasa also supports the development of local sport by sponsoring schools water polo tournaments, for example.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

UEFA Europa League replica balls Replicas of the official Molten UEFA Europa League soccer ball are locally available from Molten SA (formerly Two Oceans Sport). This is the first time that the Japanese brand, known worldwide as the official ball sponsor for international basketball, provides an official match ball for the UEFA Europa League. The official ball, with its exclusive design and striking orange graphics, is an adaptation of Molten’s flagship football model, the Vantaggio 5000. Molten’s unique thermal bonding technology promotes shape retention and reduces water absorption to ensure top class performance in all weather conditions. The thermal bonding creates a smooth, seamless cover with a uniform shape, which cannot be achieved with hand stitching. Dimples on the surface enable better ball control, resulting in more accurate passes and shots, by reducing turbulence around the ball. The orange UEFA Europa League energy wave brand identity represents the journey of the clubs throughout Europe, expressing the highs and lows of the thrilling adventure, explains Molten. The energy wave also increases visual recognition. Molten SA distributes three replicas: 1000, 2810 and 3600. The entry level 1000 range is used for training, and is available in sizes 3, 4 and 5. It is hand stitched and the surface offers increased grip and improved aerodynamics. Match ball 2810 is a step up from the 1000 and is suitable for most levels of play. It’s available in sizes 4 and 5. It too is hand stitched and it has a textured surface for increased grip ad improved aerodynamics. The 3600 match ball is only one step below the official match ball in terms of quality. It is a hybrid, using a bonded and machine stitched manufacturing process, and doesn’t absorb water, which means the ball maintains

a constant weight. The surface also provides improve grip and aerodynamics.

Official basketball balls Globally, Molten is involved with various sporting bodies, including FIBA (International Basketball Federation, IWBF (International Wheelchair Basketball Federation), and the Basketball National League in South Africa. The Basketball National League in South Africa, of which Molten is a partner, was launched in 2013. Last year, 10 teams took part in the league — three from Gauteng and one from each of the other provinces, with the exception of the Free State, which had a squabble with its provincial body. The 2018 event saw two changes: the league has been changed from a private entity to a nonprofit organisation, and matches are not restricted to Johannesburg anymore, but now also take place in Cape Town and Durban. Once something is privatised, it becomes difficult for some people to be part of it, BNL general manager Dali Dzingwa explains. “We are doing this in the interest of sport so that we share all the available resources equally among all the clubs.” As part of its partnership with FIBA, Molten supplies the official balls for the body’s world cup games, including the China World Cup, which starts on 31 August 2019. The official ball used in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2018 was based on Molten’s GL6X ball, which is used as the official game ball for all FIBA sanctioned international games as well as FIBA EuroBasket Women. The ball (above left) featured a special design based on the World Cup’s graphic, adding a touch of colour to the games. Molten became the IWBF’s first global partner in 2018 (FIBA used to supply IWBF with Molten balls), which is for a three year period.

Pat Wiltshire Sports (Pty) Ltd Exclusive agent and distributor

Tel: +27 11 466 1800/1/2

More than 2-m

p34 :: Sport

reasons to support

SA netball

With more than 2-m registered players that attract 5-m spectators, netball is by far the biggest women’s sport in South Africa ... with more registered participants than rugby and cricket. In addition, the national team’s performance make them possible medal contenders at the World Cup, which could be held in Cape Town in 2023


ome July 2023, the Spar Proteas netball team will stand on the podium in Cape Town to receive a medal in the International Netball Federation (INF) World Cup. And if Netball SA President Cecilia Molokwane has her way, that will be a fact — not a wish. There is a 50% chance that Cape Town will be the host city due to be announced by the INF by the end of March this year, as the only other approved hosting bid is from New Zealand. And after the Spar Proteas’ recent good performances in the SANZEA Quad Series, a world cup medal is more of a possibility than a dream. Ranked #5 in the world, they have shown that they can beat some of the higher ranked teams. It is remarkable that the Spar Proteas is ranked so high despite the amateur team members only managing to get together occasionally for practices, since they have to compete against players who get year-round practice in professional leagues. “What has to be understood is that Australia (World Champions) has a full-time daily training environment,” says head coach Norma Plummer. “South Africa doesn’t have this. I have just five days to get them together, while the Australians have camp after camp with their team together. The players are professional athletes who do not have to work.” New Zealand (world #2) and England (ranked #4) also have a top league professional competition, like Australia. “They play 14 rounds, plus finals, while South Africa doesn’t have a national league to that standard,” she adds. The introduction of a top line professional league to enable the Spar Proteas to compete against these top teams, really has to come, pleads Plummer. In this, she is supported by Molokwane, who laments that a lack of financial support for the sport keeps this merely a dream — despite netball attracting far more local participants

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

The amateur Proteas team members have to compete against players who get year-round practice in professional leagues than rugby or cricket. Funding for a professional league is desperately required, they both appeal. To add insult to injury, Brutal Fruit would not be extending their naming sponsorship of the Netball Premier League (NPL) due to a change of ownership. This semi-professional tournament played over eight weeks every year, gives up-and-coming players much-needed experience. Some of the other tournament sponsorships that have to be negotiated this year might also not be renewed due to finan-

cial constraints from some brands. The NPL will, however, go ahead without the current sponsor’s name, assures Molokwane. There will be some changes, however, as it will only be played in Gauteng this year, not across the country as in previous years. Despite these handicaps the Proteas gave a good reckoning of themselves in the recent SANZEA Quad series tournament in Liverpool in the UK, where they competed against three of world’s top ranked teams as a warm-up to the World Cup played in Liverpool in July. What’s more, goal defence and vice-captain Karla Pretorius was declared Player of the Tournament. She believes the Proteas benefited from the number of players who are now playing in the Australian, New Zealand and English leagues. “You train with the best day after day, and every weekend you play tough matches

Statistics about netball in SA

Cecilia Molokwane, Netball SA President, addressing the press conference about the World Cup bid.

• There are 2.06-m registered netball players in South Africa — but about 5-m when unregistered players are included. • About 60% (1.24-m) are adult players and 0.82-m youth players. • There are close to 5-m netball spectators: 3.3-m adults and 1.9-m youths. • Netball is the most popular sport amongst South African women, and after soccer the second most popular team sport overall. • Netball is growing as a sport amongst men at senior club level, with 3% of club players male, but 99% of school players female. • Following soccer, rugby and cricket, netball is the South African sport that enjoys the 4th highest media coverage annually. In 2017 this was valued at R438-m. • The Spar Proteas is ranked #5 in the world, after world champions Australia, New Zealand (#2), Jamaica (#3) and England (#4). They are ranked #1 in Africa.

Sport :: p35 Lenize Potgieter trying to make a save. Photo: Michael Bradley.

at school and club level because they become role models who the younger players aspire to emulate, report the grassroots organisers.

Role models who inspire

against the best players. It also helps that you learn how to play the best players — you learn their habits and understand how to deal with them,” she says. Apart from herself, eleven South African players gained experience from playing in the overseas pro leagues, including captain Bongiwe Msomi and goal-shooter Lenize Potgieter. Efforts are being made to get more South African players into those leagues “We need more players to play overseas, because that is good for netball in South Africa, but it is also important that we have a strong league in South Africa,” says Pretorius. “Training is one thing but it’s the time on court that is so important.”

World-class performance In the Quad series played in January this year the Spar Proteas beat the Commonwealth Games Champions England and had their best result against World Cup silver medallists New Zealand since 1995, when they beat them in the World Cup in Birmingham: they drew the match 45-all, were level at the end of extra time, and the match went into sudden death, where the Silver Ferns had to battle a good five minutes before scoring the winning goal.

The Proteas lost to Australia in the opening match, but at half time the world champions were five goals behind them. No wonder they were given a heroes’ welcome — brass band, balloons, et al — when they returned at the end of January. “This shows that we are right there with the best,” said Molokwane. “The tournament showed that the World Cup is up for grabs. I predict now that we will come back (from Liverpool) with a medal. “It’s great going into the World Cup knowing we have beaten the Commonwealth Games champions in their own backyard,” added assistant coach Dumisani Chauke. “We beat them right from the start of the match and that was in spite of the crowd, which was very much behind them. “The Quad Series is so important for the development of our team,” added NSA CEO Blanche de la Guerre. “We have improved every time we have played against those top teams. It is just a pity we have not been able to play Jamaica (world ranking #3). Interestingly, Malawi is ranked #6, just below South Africa. The good performances of the Proteas team definitely contributes to the growth of netball

“After the latest Quad Series they will be idols in the children’s eyes,” says Elsje van der Merwe of the Northern Cape, whose charges are scholars in senior schools as well as senior players at clubs. The growth in participation in this foundation phase is so important, emphasises Molokwane, “as this is where the future Spar Proteas will come from.” Although the participation growth in the Northern Cape over the past five years has been slight (about 10%) it is a positive movement, which can also be attributed to the “decision of NSA to go back to districts at the Spar SA Championships and to give more players at senior level exposure on a higher level. “All the schools’ programmes by SASN (SA Schools Netball) definitely expose more players to playing on different levels.” The Northern Cape further has several initiatives to grow the pool of senior players as much as possible, says Van der Merwe. These include conducting clinics and doing marketing using social media. “For example, in 2018 the Frances Baard District, after all their efforts, were able to affiliate five development clubs in their league.” In Gauteng the good (10-20%) participation growth among the scholars at primary and senior schools can also be attributed to the example of our Proteas team doing so well believes Petro Greeff. Their international performances also ensure much more media exposure for the sport. For example, Supersport broadcasted the SANZEA Quad series tournament live and, in addition, media and TV exposure for the To p36

Some World Cup facts • The Netball World Cup will be held in Liverpool, England, in July this year. • South Africa’s bid for Cape Town to be the 2023 host city was approved by the International Netball Federation (INF) in November 2018. • Since the netball world cup was introduced in England in 1963, it has been held 14 times every four years, but never in an African country. • New Zealand, contender for 2023, hosted the World Cup three times (in 1975, 1999 and 2007). • The INF will announce the host city for the 2023 event by the end of March this year.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p36 :: Sport

Why players need proper netball shoes Netball shoes are designed to withstand the specific rigours of the game. Wearing running shoes for netball is just as bad as wearing running shoes on the rugby field NOBODY WILL attempt to run the Com- vital ankle protection needed in this game; rades in soccer boots or play rugby in run- a padded tongue and collar to offer extra ning shoes. Yet, so often customers will support; and gel pads in the heels provide wear their running shoes on a netball court extra shock absorption for heavy landings. — without realising that it is just as inappro- An eyelet-locking mechanism that offers stability can prevent slippage of the foot in priate as the first two examples. By wearing a running shoe when playing the shoe and a rubber midsole provides the netball, your customer not only exposes quick-reaction bounce of a netball player. Olympic International puts its shoes her- or himself to possible injury, but also reduces her ability to play the game at her through vigorous testing to fine-tune the best. Netball is a fast-paced, action-filled, design and technical features, resulting in high-energy sport that requires good reviews from players. constant moving, The Goalie is the most advanced netconstant direcball shoe in the range and has all the tion changing, above features, as well as soft jumping and EVA padding at the landing. A runarch and ball of the foot and a ner, on the othbreathable upper er hand, has a steady forwardthat provides exmoving stride tra durability – at when running in a about the third of the cost of other top end fairly straight line. A Above: The top end Olympic Goalie shoe. Below: The entry level Defence. netball player weartechnical netball shoes. ing running shoes A wear-tester comcannot efficiently mended the Goalie for offering a “recontrol her moveally great grip and flex on the ment and stopcourt and when wearing them, ping, which can you feel like it’s cause her foot one consistent to slip on the movement from court surface, the moment you resulting in anplant your foot to the kle and knee injumoment you pivot or move. ries. Furthermore, you cannot change direc“There’s no slippage on the court or inside tion quickly or smoothly in running shoes, which negatively impacts your performance the shoe with these shoes and they offer good ankle support when changing direcon the court. On the other hand, a proper netball shoe tion or landing from an intercept. The anis designed to facilitate these short, sharp kle stability and protection of the Olympic movements and quick changes of direc- Goalie is probably my favourite thing about tion, says Olympic International, who is the the shoe,” she said. The Defence is an entry-level netball shoe, official shoe supplier of SA Schools Netball (SASN). A netball shoe also requires excel- ideal for beginners. Its PU upper is punched lent shock absorption, as jumping to in- for aeration and breathability, while its sole tercept those high passes and landing on is designed for comfort, durability, traction hard surfaces can have a significant impact and ease of movement. Olympic International signed a two-year on the player’s feet and joints. The correct shoe does not only enhance your game but partnership agreement with SA Schools can also prevent injury and keep you in the Netball from July 2017. “The game is intense game, continues the brand, locally distrib- and places a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles, which means wearing the coruted by Bolton Footwear. Therefore, recommend a netball shoe with rect shoes is of paramount importance,” Strobel stitching, a manufacturing method Stuart Hopwood, Group Head of Marketing that offers more flexibility and is commonly at Bolton Footwear, said at the time. All the shoes in their range are sold at a used in most athletic shoes. Other features to look for in a netball shoe are a cut that competitive price, which suits the schools sits higher up on the ankle to provide that and clubs market.

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

Netball growth (cont. from p35)

sport through the Brutal Fruit NPL and DStv broadcasts of Schools Netball create greater awareness of the sport, she points out. “The broadcasting of the exciting (Spar Proteas) games, as well as NPL games on TV, for sure made an impact,” says Bennie Saayman of the Western Cape. All five netball districts in Gauteng — Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Sedibeng, Tshwane and West Rand — have their own strategic plans to grow the numbers of netball players within the region, says Greeff. In the Western Cape there has been about 10% growth in new participants in primary schools, where players are usually introduced to the sport, says Saayman, who says it is the region’s priority to grow participation even more in all six netball districts. But, despite all the efforts to grow the sport, netball shares the problem of many other girls’ sports: the players lose interest after they leave school, all regions report. And, like most other school and club sports, netball has to contend with the reality of the South African economy in which resources and funding is becoming scarcer. Growth in netball is therefore hampered in struggling schools and communities that cannot afford netball courts or coaches and are “already struggling to accommodate all sporting needs” says Van der Merwe. Added to this the players often have limited resources and can’t afford to buy shoes and clothing and teams struggle to fund transport to matches.

In 2017 all Bellville Netball Club’s equipment was destroyed in a fire, but W.E.T. Sports came to their aid and sponsored them with a range of Star practice and match balls to help them rise up from the ashes. The sponsorship extended to training aids, pumps, netball nets and ball carry nets and a LP sponsorship board was erected at the club which allowed them to carry on practicing and playing matches.


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p38 :: Sport Left: Joubert Klopper on his way to winning the Curro International Grade 4 ITF tournament. Photo: Eunice Visagie. Right: Kevin Anderson is now ranked #5. Photo: Tennis SA.

Good news for tennis

With juniors qualifying for a Grand Slam, a new ITF Grade A junior tournament, and juniors training in the US, the future for South African tennis is looking promising. The understudies for topperformers like Kevin Anderson, Raven Klaasen and Lloyd Harrison is in training ... which is good news for retailers selling tennis equipment


he year started with the local sport industry’s focus firmly fixed on the Australian Open Junior Championship, where two young tennis players were flying the South African flag high by being two of the eight boys qualifying to compete in the Grand Slam tournament: Joubert Klopper (17), son of Dirk Klopper of Kloppers Sport-fame, and 16-year old Kholo Montsi beat much higher ranked players to qualify, but the ask was simply too much when they came up against high ranked players in the Open event. Last year Klopper won the Curro Junior International Tennis Federation (ITF) Grade 4 tournament at Stellenbosch University. At the beginning of this year, his ITF world ranking was #115 and he had recorded 57 singles and 42 doubles wins (21 and 17 losses). Yet, he gave a good account of himself before bowing out to world #47 Wojciech Marek from Poland. “It has always been my biggest tennis dream to play in a grand slam, and to qualify at the first try is almost unbelievable for me. Hopefully, I can go further and make the people at home proud,” the Bloemfontein Grey College scholar said. Montsi, from Cape Town, is ranked #112 globally and won the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit in Harare last year. So far in his career he has won 61 singles and 48 doubles matches and lost 27 and 26 respectively. “Mentally I was so motivated to play in a grand slam so that really pushed me

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

A top competitive player requires a new pair of shoes per month, about four rackets have to be stringed per week and balls last one set per tournament and made me believe that I belong here,” he said after qualifying to play in the Open Junior against Russia’s Alexander Binda, ranked #52. The two youngsters were among 8 boys and 8 girls, out of a global field of 64, who qualified to play in the Junior Open. Five other South African juniors unfortunately didn’t make the final 16 cut. The Australian Open Junior Championships is one of the four Junior Grand Slam tournaments played as part of the ITF Junior U18 world circuit. There is another up-and-coming star with special interest for the sport retail industry among the junior girls: 18-year old Lungile Ntuli’s mother Gugu is a former adidas SA communications manager. Lungile was part of the Fed Cup team that was promoted into the Euro/Africa Zone Group II competition last year by beating Malta 2-1 in their play-off. Unfortunately, the South African team that played in the four-day tournament in Luxembourg in February could not win their matches in the Group ll tournament and were relegated

to Group III again.

Grade A junior tournament But, in a major boost for African tennis, the ITF has awarded Tennis South Africa the right to host a high profile and prestigious ITF Junior Grade A tournament this year — which will only be the sixth Grade A event in the world. These tournaments have the highest ranking points on the ITF junior circuit after the Grand Slam events and therefore attract the world’s top U18 players. “This is a massive boost for high performance junior tennis on the continent and is also a clear signal of our intent to bring more international events to South Africa,” says Richard Glover, CEO of TSA, of the first Grade A junior tournament to be hosted in Africa in 34 years. “This provides a wonderful platform for some of our rising junior stars to test themselves against the world’s best, without having to travel outside of Africa.”

Club tennis Cub tennis is further benefiting from the new Growthpoint Top Guns national tournament where future stars from sixteen regional tennis clubs in February competed in the final in Sun City. The topline tournament is played in a doubles team format with two men and two women making up a team. Winners earn R30 000 for their club, as well as a further R30 000 that

Sport :: p39

Top left: Kholo Montsi, Top right: The members of the SA Fed Cup team that won promotion to the Euro/Africa Zone Group II: Lungile Ntuli, Chanel Simmonds, Katie Poluta, Madrie Le Roux and Minette Van Vreden. Photo: Supplied. Middle left: Raven Klaasen, Middle right: Ruan Roelofse. Photos supplied. Left: Lloyd Harris. Right: Tuks Sports’ Talic Sibanda, Lethabo Malope and Joshua Seegers. Photo: Reg Caldecott.

is divided among the players. The losing finalists will take home R10 000 for their club, as well as a further R10 000 divided among the players. While the players benefit from the prize purse on offer, retailers benefit from more balls sold with every high level tournament played — and all the shoes worn out on courts during the extensive practices required and rackets that have to be restringed. Tennis is the sport that generates the most follow-up sales, says Klopper’s retail-veteran father, Dirk. A top competitive player on average requires a new pair of shoes per month, about four rackets have to be stringed per week and balls last on average one set per tournament. The new national tennis centre to be built

at the University of Stellenbosch is also bound to attract more young players who had been inspired by the successes of South Africans on the international stage to play serious tennis. This will be a counter-balance to the TuksTennis centre in the north. There are also more-and-more young local players playing overseas to improve their rankings. For example, four of the TuksTennis players will be based internationally later this year: Talic Sibanda, Lethabo Malope and Paul Schwieger are all going to study and play at US colleges, while Joshua Seegers will be expanding his game by playing on clay courts in Spain. They will, no doubt, try to emulate the senior pro players that are again giving South Africans a special reason to watch Grand Slams and other international tournaments.

Kevin Anderson is the flag bearer with his ATP #5 world ranking early in February, outranking Roger Federer at #6, but following Novak Djokovic (#1), Rafael Nadal (#2), Alexander Zverev (#3) and Juan Martin del Porto (#4). Lloyd Harris broke into the ATP top #100 at #98 with his Launceston International and ATP Challenger victories. In doubles Raven Klaasen and his New Zealand partner Michael Venus regularly reach the semi’s or quarter finals, and are currently ranked #13 in the world. South African Davis Cup player Ruan Roelofse is up to #160 in the ATP rankings — an improvement from his previous #175 spot. South Africa’s top women are, unfortunately, lagging behind, with Chanel Simmonds achieving the highest ranking in singles (#488) and doubles (#257).

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p40 :: Sport

Is Wilson’s new Clash a revolution in the racket space?

Images of the Clash 100 Tour rackets supplied.

From time to time a brand introduces an innovation that changes the direction of future racket designs. Wilson believes the new Clash collection is one of these. THE SECRECY surrounding the latest Wilson tennis racket was lifted on February 15th with the introduction of the Clash tennis racket collection, which had been in production for three years. Dubbed a true revolution in the racket space, this racket was created to flex, without compromising stability or power, to suit the modern tennis swing. The Clash collection should appeal to a broad range of players who want rackets that are very easy to play, provide the confidence to swing powerfully, and offer excellent control, says Wilson. “It is born from the feedback of hundreds of tennis players throughout the world and thousands of hours of playtests,” says Hans-Martin

Reh, Wilson Racquet Sports GM. “In creating this racket, we sought to push the limits of how a racket could move, feel, react on ball impact and, ultimately, make a player feel. Control and confidence are the top attributes players want from their racket, and the Clash delivers on both.

Broad appeal “It’s a highly playable collection that represents the intersection of flexibility, stability, power, control and feel, hence the name Clash. It is unlike anything they have seen or felt from rackets before.” Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, used motion capture technology to track racket swing planes and the modern player’s angle of at-


tack — which showed that the shots had become more vertical over time. Coupled with feedback from hundreds of tennis players globally, this research helped the Wilson LABS researchers to evaluate ways they could alter conventional racket construction by providing a level of fluid movements to the frame. Two new technologies are used in the Clash rackets: Wilson’s patent-pending FreeFlex, a carbon mapping system that unifies carbon at unconventional angles throughout the racket’s frame for a higher degree of horisontal and vertical flexibility.

Bend with any swing This allows the rackets to bend with any swing style to better pocket a tennis ball and control the release of the ball. StableSmart is a new frame geometry that pro-

vides stability and power to these flexible frames to complement the FreeFlex technology and give a player better control over the directional accuracy and depth of a shot. The Clash collection carries forward Wilson’s previously introduced minimalist product design with an evolved, bold, three-part colourway. The matte black finish of each frame features gray accents at the three and nine o’clock positions. The twelve o’clock position — the fastest point of the racket — introduces a pop of modern infrared. This element of vibrant color creates a streak of infrared as the rackets move through the air, creating a sense of motion, says Wilson, locally available from The Golf Racket.


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Squash brand from the UK now in SA A NEW SQUASH brand, Mantis, is now available in South Africa from W.E.T. Sports. Although fairly young compared to some of the other international racket brands, Mantis racket sports is a well-established name in the UK, where it has sponsored several tournaments and international players. Only the brand’s range of squash rackets and accessories will be distributed by W.E.T. Sports in South Africa, but the brand offers a full range of racket sports equipment in the UK. “We are happy to add an upmarket racket brand to our stable and look forward to growing the Mantis Collection in South Africa,” says Andrew Wentzel of W.E.T. Sports. See more on the opposite page. Since 2011, Mantis has been creating name-recognition in the UK through various sponsorships. In squash, they had been the official racket to the Allam British Open squash event, which is considered to be the Wimbledon tournament of the squash world, as naming sponsor and official racket supplier of the PSA Fantasy Squash League and in 2012 Mantis was the official racket supplier of the World Masters Squash Championship. Mantis also had a sponsorship agreement with rnow-retired Emma Beddoes, a former professional squash player who represented England. The brand was founded by a former tennis professional and global product manager for a major tennis brand, for whom he had developed tennis balls used in two Grand Slams. Mantis has been the official ball of the Statoil Masters Tennis, and signed former UK #1 Greg Rusedski as brand ambassador in 2012.


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For the full ROX and MANTIS Racquet Range please go to the exciting new W.E.T. Sports website or email them at Or if you prefer to fax 086 609 7343 or give the office a call 021 948 8150.

p42 :: Sport

Is schools cricket recovering? Photo courtesy of Tuks Sport.

It might be early days yet, but it would appear that interest in cricket is being rekindled at schools level — and these new entrants to the game is good news for retailers


are sport retailers start hoping that cricket sales could be picking up again? Cricket equipment sales have been a bit in the doldrums for a few years, but there are some signs that there is renewed interest in playing the game at school level. Sports Trader asked schools to let us know whether the interest in cricket among their learners are going up or down by completing a short survey. They could remain anonymous if they wished to. The majority of the respondents (72%) are from high schools — several of them from some of the top sport schools. About threequarters of the schools (77%) have multiple teams for every age group. The good news is that 44% reported that there is now more interest in cricket participation in their school than five years ago. What’s more, 12% said that this year started with much more interest from learners wanting to play cricket than last year. Whether it is interest generated by the winning performances of the Proteas against Pakistan (at the time of going to press the verdict was still out on the tests against Sri Lanka) or the looming excitement of another World Cup ... who cares? What matters is that the new participants have to buy equipment, which is good for retailers. Nearly a quarter of the respondents said that

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

Just about all the schools that responded buy basic cricket equipment in bulk to supply to their teams the interest in cricket remained about the same over the past five years ... but 32% said there has been quite a big drop in participation. For many of the respondents (44%) the greater interest in the sport did not increase the number of the teams at the school, as they still have about the same number of teams as five years ago. “Our cricket team numbers stay more or less the same every year, but it depends on the league and what teams other schools have,” comments PT Vermaak of Northridge Primary School. Nearly a quarter (24%) say they have slightly fewer teams than five years ago, but a fifth say they have slightly more teams. The 5-7 teams cricket teams at Hoërskool Randburg are slightly less than the number they had a few years ago, but this is due to fewer learners wanting to participate in sport overall, reports Armand Erasmus. Only two schools reported that they now have significantly more teams than a few years ago. Both of them are primary schools in smaller towns. And as a sign of the times, more than a third

say girls are also playing cricket at their schools, although all have more boys’ teams than girls. One school only enters teams in the boys’ league ... but girls also play in these teams. Most (84%) of the schools say that all their teams play in school’s leagues, with only a handful reporting that only their top teams play in leagues. As so many other things, an inspiring and enthusiastic coach and/or teacher promoting cricket is the biggest contributor to the growth

Participation compared to 5yrs ago

Sport :: p43

The series victories by Faf du Plessis and his teams have rekindled an interest in South African cricket in the run-up to the World Cup. Photo: Nicol du Toit.

coupled with enthusiin cricket participation, Less than 10% believe that the astic teachers and new say 43% of the respondents. Another factor Proteas’ good performance at coaches driving parin renewed cricket inthe start of the year contrib- ticipation this year, are terest is how well the uted to more learners wanting reasons for the growth school performed in of cricket participato emulate their cricket heroes. tion at the school, says cricket the previous year, say a third of the Graeme Wepener. respondents. These sentiments are SACS, the alma mater of a cricket great like echoed by Grant Young (MIC) and Jean van Peter Kirsten, is more used to winning than Zyl (Head of Sports) of Trinityhouse Randpark losing cricket matches, and the fact that the Ridge. school performed well in cricket last year, This also confirms what many retailers have

Number of cricket teams

observed: all sports fans are keen to support winners, but sadly turn their backs on losers. It is interesting that only 14% believe that the fact that it is compulsory to participate in a summer sport at the school contributes to cricket growth. And less than 10% believe that the Proteas’ good performance at the start of the year contributed to more learners wanting to emulate their cricket heroes. The schools that reported declining cricket participation (67%), attributed this mainly to a drop in overall sport participation amongst learners. There are many reasons why cricket participation has dropped significantly at Port Rex Technical School, says Director of Sport Timothy Kirby: “cricket is expensive and the school cannot afford more facilities as there is too much competition from other sports To p44

p44 :: Sport

Cricket (cont. from p43) The top end Diamond bat, which was developed with input from England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

New features of Gunn & Moore range GUNN & MOORE’S 2019 range of top class bats again promise to top the wish lists of up-and-coming as well as established cricket players. Manufactured in England from English Willow, Gunn & Moore’s bats have all been made with care and attention to details that will enhance playability. They are available in Southern Africa from Opal Sports. England’s superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes, for example, gave input into the design of the Diamond range of products that feature his preferred colour scheme. The bat has a shorter-than-traditional blade (540mm), with a large sweet spot that gives hard-hitting ball-striking confidence, just as Stokes prefers. The shorter blade length also enhances the balance for a great pick up and feel. It is available in nine different grades of wood. The Mythos was designed for batsmen who like to play big shots. This is achieved by a dynamic sweet spot, shortened blade and substantial edges that make no secret that this is a powerful bat. The large edges run along the entire blade of the bat and are highlighted by the pronounced spine profile and lower to mid swell. The concaved back profile enhances pick-up. It is available in eight different grades. Proteas opener Aiden Markram played with the 2018 version of the all-round bat, the Zelos. The traditional blade’s Ultra Curve shape enlarges the sweet spot for powerful stroke-making, while the partially concaved spine profile enhances pickup and balance and the low to mid swell accentuates the all round capabilities. It is available in seven grades of wood across a full spectrum of quality bats. Noir’s striking stealth-like design gives a hint of the big, stealthy, powerful strokes provided by its pronounced edges at the driving zone, complimented by the low to mid-swell position. This bat has been engineered to produce maximum power at the drive zone. The Noir with its striking colour scheme is the bat for the player who wants to stand out from the crowd. It is available in two sizes in seven grades. The Haze has a lightweight design and pick up, which will be ideal for the player who likes to cut and pull balls to the boundaries from the back foot. These features are enhanced by a mid to high swell position and concaved back profile, which makes this one of the most eye-catching bats on the market. It is available in four grades of willow. The Neon, used by Quinton de Kock when he hit those centuries in 2018, also has a shortened (540mm) blade that allows for a larger, more dynamic sweet spot. The large edges at the drive zone and the slight offset edge ensure increased power to balance ratio. The reduced sweeping spine profile allows for enhanced pick up and the mid to high swell position combine to offer superb overall stroke-play. It is available in six grades of willow.

that are less time-consuming. Besides, fewer learners are nowadays interested in participating in any form of sport. More than half of the respondents (57%) agree with him that cricket participation suffers from too much competition from other sports because it is a game that is too time-consuming. There is much less interest in cricket at Hoërskool Brandwag in Benoni, despite the fact that boys and girls are encouraged to play the sport, says Henlo Blignault, because there are just too many other sports and activities competing for the learners’ limited time. The school offers eight other summer sports in addition to cricket. Despite the tough economy, only a third of the respondents from schools where participation declined believe this is due to the expense of equipment, or because the school cannot afford facilities (22%).

Schools buy gear for players Schools do, however, attempt to supply what they can afford. “We supply what the coaches would need, but the budget is tight, which makes it difficult to maintain this throughout the cricket season,” says an anonymous respondent. “The rest of the equipment players need to buy themselves.” Just about all the schools that responded buy basic cricket equipment in bulk to supply to their teams like balls and stumps (96%). Many of them also provide bowling machines (84%) and scoreboards (72%). Interestingly, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the respondents’ schools supply equipment that are often usually for individual, rather than team, use, like pads and helmets. More than half of the schools (56%) also supply even more individual personal gear like bats and protective. The fact that a school would buy bats and pads in bulk for use by a team, instead of every player buying his or her own, is not such good news for retailers. But, on the other hand, if this is a way to encourage the participation of learners who would otherwise not play cricket because of the cost involved, there is always the hope that the learner will make such good progress that his parents will one day buy him that coveted top end bat. About a third of the respondents’ schools supply clothing for their teams. Retailers should benefit from this as the clothing would (hopefully!) not be shared amongst team members and each member would receive/buy an individual set. Durban-based sports retailer Solly M Sports has given KwaZulu Natal cricket a lift through a sponsorship agreement whereby it will be the official sponsor of the Kingsmead-based Coastal Academy for the next year — with the option to renew. PR Cricket, distributed by Solly M Sports, is also sponsoring a number of KZN players. At the announcement were (from left) Mahomed Amra (Director Solly M Sports), Ritesh Ramjee (Amateur Cricket Manager KZN Coastal Cricket), Virender Gujral (PR Cricket Associate), Okuhle Cele (PR Cricket sponsored player), Nondumiso Shangase (PR Cricket sponsored player), Keshav Maharaj (PR Cricket sponsored player), Thula Ngcobo (PR Cricket sponsored player), Imtiaz Karodia (CEO Solly M Sports), Shitij Agarwal (MD PR Cricket) and Heinrich Strydom (CEO KZN Cricket).

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

ISPO Awards the best of the best

p46 :: Trade shows

Each year hundreds of products are entered to win an ISPO Award at the annual trade show and, in the process, show they are the most innovative in their field. This gives the rest of the industry an indication of the latest product trends in various categories


itness, health, and wellbeing are the most frequent answers when people are asked about their motivation for getting involved in sports,” says the ISPO Award jury. “The Health & Fitness segment represents an entire industry revolving around this athletic lifestyle. It comes as no surprise that the segment has since shaped the ISPO Award. The current award winners prove that the progressive development of the segment is alive, and they also offer a good sneak peek into the future of the sporting goods market.” The ISPO Award rewards products that show exceptional innovation in their respective segments as well as in categories within each segment, of which there are five (Health & Fitness, Outdoor, Snowsports, Team & Social Sports, and Urban). Winners were selected by over 40 jury members from 12 different countries and a variety of backgrounds including retailers, designers, marketing experts, journalists, consumers and athletes. The overall winner of each segment is announced as the Product of the Year winner, chosen from the Gold winners in that segment, which are the best products in their specific categories.

Health & fitness winners In the Health & Fitness segment this was the Platinum Club Series treadmill from Life Fitness (right), which makes training a digital community event. It syncs with an Apple Watch, streams Netflix and Spotify — and users can even choose to run on international courses, see avatars of other users around the world who are currently using the same track, in real time, and are able to interact and communicate with them. Several of

In the versatile outdoor category several products that use recycled or other sustainable materials were this year awarded Gold the Gold winners in this segment focus on running. Hybrid Outer Layer: Craft’s SubZ sweater and X-Bionic’s Spherewind G2 jacket, both for runners, are Gold Award winners in this category. What sets them apart is the lightweight, heatbonded padding on the front SubZ front, combined with brushed jersey fabric and a chimney collar for extra warmth and protection. The Spherewind G2 features a new temperature regulating technology, weather-protected air outlets for added climate control, improved ergonomics through Preset running sleeves, formed sleeve cuffs and no underarm sleeves, and the jacket can be comfortably worn around the waits due to a scarab folding system. Outer Layer: the Norvan SL insulated hoody from Arc’teryx, designed for trail running in cold and wet conditions, is superlight (270gm), packable and breathable. Additionally, the combination of Gore-Tex Shakedry technology and a layer of bodymapped insulated lining offers warmth and weather protection. Running Footwear: True Motion’s U-Tech Nevos running shoe features a midsole system designed to minimise dangerous stress on the foot, ankle and knee. Instead of trying to fix the symptoms, the system strives to decrease injuries. Smart Outer Layer: 361o’s Beat Cold AFI-001 down parka can produce instant heat to keep the muscles and body warm. The waterproof, stretchy Flight Series Futurelight jacket from The North Face uses nano-spinning that adds air permeability to the membrane.

Variety among Outdoor winners “There aren’t many segments as versatile and multi-faceted as the Outdoor segment,” say jury members. “It embraces all products required for mountaineering, hiking, camping, trekking, and other outdoor activities.” Made from 100% natural materials, from the packaging to the last button, the Biopod DownWool Nature bag from Grüezi (right) is touted as the most natural sleeping bag. The Outdoor Product of the Year winner is made from DownWool (70% down and 30% wool) and offers good insulation, and very little filling material is required. The Gold Award winners are the best products in the main outdoor categories, and this year several products that use recycled or other sustainable materials were awarded: Backpack: Ortlieb’s Atrack ST 34 backpack (below) was considered special because it can adapt to any kind of travelling or activity thanks to is modular system and accessories that can create an individual and flexible pack in seconds. Its TIZIP zipper and special opening system also allow for easy access and a large opening.

Base Layer:

Blackyack’s Mountain Shemagh covers the head, neck and

Trade shows :: p47 down to the collar bone area to offer high-performance protection in all cold weather conditions. The multi-position design provides an intimate fit to the face, head, neck, and upper chest, and the three-dimensional construction minimizes the chance of draughts and cold air entering, significantly reducing cold spot formations on exposed skin. Mid Layer: the lightweight (228g) Berg Outdoor’s Geres Zero Gravity insulated, packable jacket is made from second-grade parachute fabric (not suitable for parachutes, but still light resistant and water-repellent), and is made from a water-repellent Primaloft Gold Insulation down blend that is treated with environmentally-safe techniques, and uses recycled zips. Outer Layer 3-layer Jacket The two Gold Award winners in the category, Costuza and Lagoped, both focus on recycling, while still being technical performance products. Cortazu has created a lightweight, stretch fabric jacket out of recycled nylon that is suitable for high-performance jackets. The nylon is 100% post-industrial waste that has been dyed waterlessly and uses PFC/PFOA-free DWR. The EVE jacket by Lagoped also uses recycled fabric as well as no endocrine disruptors, which can negatively affect people’s health. The jacket is waterproof, windproof and breathable. Hybrid Outer Layer: Blackyack’s Sindhi vest for women uses breathable TruFlow textiles and down for comfort and moisture wicking. It also features a hidden pop-out water resistant and windproof jacket that is hidden in the low-profile waist. Down Layer: Marmot’s West Rib parka features WarmCube technology that adds an additional layer of synthetic insulation, as well as Diamond Fuse fabric, which use yarns with diamond-shaped filaments that lock together to create a durable and abrasion-resistant fabric. Gloves: Eska’s Arktis GTX stood out to jury members because it offers grip through the use of a Gore-Tex insert and digital grip leather on the palm that also provides dexterity. The glove has an integrated SEQRID device that provides medical data and emergency contacts to first responders in an emergency situation. The user can also extend the cuff and close it with a cord zipper in bad conditions, which creates a mitt. BitterBlaze gloves by Outdoor Research won Gold Awards in the category. Biking: with its integrated rearview mirror the TriEye eyewear allows cyclists to see behind them with only the tilt of the head. No more looking around behind them, which can be difficult and dangerous. Watersports: the Ultralight SUP board (right) can be folded and comes with a patented pump system: the SUP bag dou-

bles as a pump for the base volume as well as a dry bag. The PumpPaddle’s small shaft enables high pressure generation with little effort. Hiking, Travel & Camping: no matter the temperature, the QOOL cool box can keep the temperature constant for days without the use of an external power supply. It has vacuum insulation in all the walls, lid and floor and its Temperature Elements are available in five temperature ranges between -25oC and 25oC. Klean Kanteen’s TKPro (left) is another noteworthy product in the Hiking, Travel & Camping category and won an ISPO Award. The thermal canteen is plastic-free and features an integrated double-wall stainless steel cup as well as the brand’s safe, chip-resistant Klean Coat. Klean Kanteen is locally available from Awesome Tools. Digital Services: the Training Log app by Vertical-Life connects climbers, coaches and climbing gyms allowing climbers to follow professionally designed training plans, that cater to their specific needs, on the app.

Winners merge outdoor and urban “More than half of the world’s population is living and working in urban areas, a fact that emphasizes the importance of urban sports in people’s lives,” say the ISPO Award jury members. “From traditional street sports like skateboarding to inherent urban movements such as parkour or less known, yet growing, disciplines like sign spinning: our cities are huge, multifaceted playgrounds and the ideal breeding ground for new activities.” In case you wondered: parkour is an activity in which participants rapidly move through an area, usually an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing. Sign spinners have turned human billboard advertising into an extreme sport — instead of standing around like a human sandwich, they twirl and move with the boards in a very impressive way. Yes, indeed! The winners in the Urban segment of the ISPO Awards competition mixes outdoorinfluences with the necessities of modern urban living. Berg Outdoor has created

an 100% biodegradable shoe (below), which won Product of the Year in this segment. The Sordo boot is made from oak leather bionature, burel and an Apinat outer sole … and under favourable conditions the boot will fully decompose within 6 months (hopefully not on the foot!). The ISPO Gold Award winners in the Urban segment are:




Pacsafe’s Venturesafe EXP45 backpack (nest column top) uses Econyl regenerated nylon fibre and Pacsafe’s technology that had been designed to secure gear, such as a stainless steel locking cable, eXomesh slash guard, Roobar Deluxe locking system and a punctureresistant ToughZip. The backpack is made to be able to be worn two different ways, has an ergonomic internal frame for increased balance and support, and it meets most airlines’ carry-on standard. Pacsafe is locally available from Adventure Inc. Outer Layer Insulated: Descente Allterrain’s Mizusawa down jacket features Cebonner Horns nylon fabric that is waterproof with natural, cotton-like fetouchel, non-padded thermal bonding and seam tape sealing that ensures a moisture-managed environment. The jacket is ventilated through a central dual zip and pit zips and the stored hood can quickly and easily be opened with a QuickBurst zipper in the collar. Outer Layer Shell: the Root anorak from FW, features a high, Polartec lined collar for protection from the elements, and a minimalist trim and streetwear fit for use on and off the mountain. Urban Concept: Arys’ Vigorous is a 2-in-1 vest that combines outdoor functionality with storage for the portable office. It features waterproof fabric and recycled Primaloft padding for comfort and protection from the elements, and also has space for a notebook and various gadgets. The ISPO Award winners were on display at the sports trade show in Munich, Germany, from 3-6 February. Winners were selected by over 40 jury members from 12 different countries and a variety of backgrounds including retailers, designers, marketing experts, journalists, consumers and athletes.

The next ISPO show dates The next ISPO Munich trade show will be held in January 26–29 2020. More than 2 800 exhibitors are expected to present their latest sports products at the Messe München exhibition grounds.

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

p48 :: Trade shows

ISPO Munich promotes eSports and digitization


rom a sports trade show frequented by retailers and distributors, ISPO has evolved into a show promoting electronic games (eSports) and digitization. An ISPO Digitize Pioneers Night was, for example, added to the programme, which was addressed by skateboarder Tony Hawk on how “digitalization will bring about a lasting change”. eSports got a boost from the FIFA19 tournament hosted at the Globetrotter Store as part of the ISPO Munich Sports Week. Visitors could also participate in various electronic sports games at the special ISPO Digitize Area. Athletes interested in a more active form of sport did get the opportunity to participate in the ISPO Munich Night Run and by plogging — collecting garbage while jogging — through the streets of Munich. The 2019 ISPO show also focused strongly on sport stars and


Skateboarder Tony Hawk spoke at the ISPO Digitize Pioneers Night. Photo: Messe München GmbH.

other celebrities. The ISPO Cup, for example, was awarded to exbiathlete Ole Einar Björndalen, instead of a member of the industry, as in the past when the likes of Columbia’s Gert Boyle received this award. Other VIP guests were Olympic beach volleyball champion Julius Brink, top model Barbara Meier, ultra-runner Florian Neuschwander, sprinter Gina Lückenkemper, Olympic ski champion Anna Veith, and double Olympic swimming champion Britta Steffen. Ski mountaineers Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison were special

The Globetrotter eSport tournament held during the ISPO Sports Week. Photo: Messe München GmbH.

guests on The North Face stand. The new president of the European Outdoor Group (EOG), Mark Held, also attended ISPO Munich. From this year ISPO will present the OutDoor show in Munich in June after many years of the show being held in Friedrichshafen. About 700 exhibitors have confirmed attendance at the ISPO OutDoor show, which will also have a strong digital focus. The dates of the traditional retailfocused OutDoor Friedrichshafen trade show have been changed to 17-19 September 2019.

Olympic skier Anna Veith. Photo: Messe München GmbH.

There was also time for paying attention to the most innovative products from the Snowsports, Outdoor, Urban, Health & Fitness and Team Sports segments which were awarded gold. The BrandNew product winners also attracted some attention. A record number of 2 943 exhibitors and around 80 000 trade and consumer visitors attended the 2019 ISPO München sports show this year. While the number of visitors was 5% down, the number of exhibitors was 5% up from last year.

The most innovative NEW products awarded

n inflatable rash vest, a portable fitness station and attachable electrodes that promote muscle training are among the winners of the 2019 ISPO BrandNew awards that were on display in the ISPO BrandNew Village at ISPO Munich from February 6-9, 2019. This year there were more than 400 entries in this annual competition for the most innovative new products from start-ups. “We had extremely good submissions this year: the decision ultimately came down to small details in the design, function or presentation,” says David Badalec, who is responsible for ISPO BrandNew. “Along with a cohesive overall concept, the marketability of the product is always a determining factor.” The overall winner was a concept for the mass manufacturing of alpine skis, but the winners in the Apparel, Fitness, Hardware Summer, and Wearables categories will have more relevance for our market. A functional shirt suitable for water sports

Sports Trader :: 2019 Q1

that is combined with a lifesaving function is the apparel winner (above left). “In an emergency, the integrated carbon dioxide cartridge is activated via a ripcord, which then inflates air chambers in the shirt’s chest and shoulder areas. It buoys the wearer and can thus save lives,” the Australian manufacturer, Hero Water Wear, explains. Other features include integrated SPF 50 protection against sunburn and a comfortable fit made possible by the flat seams and polyester-lycra fabric blend. A portable fitness station (above middle) from YoRoller in Austria won the fitness category. It is aimed at indoor and outdoor strength training, and an adapter makes it easy to mount it on poles, handrails or trees. “Based on the flywheel energy concept, the YoRoller works like a horizontal yo-yo that responds to the movement of the user and converts the rotational energy accordingly,” they explain. The athlete’s energy is used and converted without the need for additional weight.

French company Inobo’s fully customizable kitesurfing board (above right) was chosen as the summer hardware winner. The novel combination of a carbon exoskeleton, which ensures that the board remains stable, and an additional interchangeable deck pad impressed the jury. The expanded deck module can be changed at the surfing spot, depending on the skill level of the surfer, his or her preferences and the prevailing weather conditions. The decks are available in different designs, colours and sizes. Electrostimulation (EMS) control elements that can be attached to clothing to promote muscle training, won the wearables category. Developed by diPulse from Sweden, the carbon-based elements are attached without wires or electrodes to stimulate particular muscle areas during a training session. “In addition, an integrated virtual trainer can access the data in real time and give the athlete active feedback,” the company says.

Trade show news

Trade shows :: p49

Eurobike expects to attract 1 400 exhibitors

Outdoor Retailer now three days AS OF THIS YEAR, Outdoor Retailer’s three trade shows will span three days instead of four. “We know it’s crucial to continue to evolve and enhance the shows and to take action on the feedback we’ve received,” says Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer vice president and show director. “What we learned is that three full days is sufficient. Now, we are excited to head into 2019 with three Outdoor Retailer shows structured to create the best platform for all attendees.” The dates for the outdoor trade shows are: Snow Show is 30 January till 1 February, Summer Market is 18-20 June (Demo Experience on 17 June) and the Winter Market trade show is 5-7 November. All three shows will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

THIS YEAR’S Eurobike show is expecting to attract 1 400 exhibitors, many of which are returning exhibitors. The show will, however, also host first-time exhibitors. The cycling show attracted more than 37 000 visitors from 96 countries to its 2018 show, which featured a similar number of exhibitors. “The relevance of the bicycle is increasing from day to day and the technology is advancing rapidly,” says Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann. “With three thoroughly successful days, Eurobike 2018 was a success, despite being preceded by a controversial discussion regarding the earlier date. It has clearly proved how important the global exchange among industry professionals is within the framework of a leading international trade show.” Eurobike takes place 4-7 September at Friedrichshafen, Germany. The first three days are only open to the trade, and the 7th of September is the Festival Day where consumers can view the products that will be available in stores in a few months.

Helping brands into China a key focus for ISPO Beijing AROUND HALF of the 700 brands from more than 400 companies that exhibited at the 2019 ISPO Beijing are from abroad, including a mixture of past exhibitors, new exhibitors, and brand new startups. Among others, the show offered a two-day seminar for brands interested in entering the Chinese market, with a focus on winter sports ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. The show also focused on attracting more influencers (or Key Opinion Leaders in China) such as celebrities, athletes, bloggers, etc. — despite the general public not being allowed in as visitors to the trade show

where products are launched to retailers ahead of when the products are available to consumers. Ahead of the show, organisers expected that around 500 influencers would attend. According to the show organisers, a study has shown that around half of the 665-m Chinese who work in the country use the product research channels on social media, and 75% of their Gen Z prefer to buy directly via social media (the global average is 44%). This year’s show took place at a new venue (the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) New Venue). Photo: ISPO.

Advertisers index 1721 Distributors A1 Bata SA Bolton Footwear Brandfolio SA Crown Footwear Dukes Falke Fila

5, 7 13 9 37 OBC OFC 43 1 5, 7

Gunn & Moore Hi-Tec Jack & Jill Jack Parcels JFK Trading Mantis Mikasa Olympic International Opal Sports

45 27 13 13 13 41 33 37 43, 45

Pat Wiltshire Sports Power Skechers Stable Brands The Golf Racket U.S. Polo Assn W.E.T Sports Wildebeest Wilson

33 9 OBC 11 40 11 41 OFC 40

2019 Q1 :: Sports Trader

Profile for Sports Trader

Sports Trader Q1 2019  

Southern Africa's business magazine for the sport, outdoor and lifestyle retail trade.

Sports Trader Q1 2019  

Southern Africa's business magazine for the sport, outdoor and lifestyle retail trade.