#139 British Sports Direct down for the count in Austria?
There’s trouble in Austria’s market for sports equipment. Traditionally, the market has been dominated by a handful of domestic companies such as Gigasport, Hervis, and – one of the most established among them – the Intersport group. Within Intersport, which is less of a centrally owned and controlled company and more of a loosely controlled network of independent entities, Intersport Eybl once was the largest unit with more than 2,200 employees, more than EUR 330 million in revenue, about 25 percent market share, and 55 sizeable stores throughout Austria (and Germany). Since 2011, however, revenues started to decline, rapid expansion took its toll, and in 2013, Intersport Eybl was close to insolvency. The majority owners of Intersport Eybl decided to sell 51 percent of their shares to British sports retailer Sports Direct. For only EUR 10.5 million and another EUR 30 million in fresh capital, Sports Direct had bought itself access to Austria’s EUR 2.7 billion market for sports equipment. Or so it thought. The last five years since its entry into Austria were not exactly a slam dunk for Sports Direct. By year 3 (in 2015/16), Sport Direct’s market share had declined to about 13 percent, revenues had slipped by the double digits and the company had amassed losses of EUR 126 million.
So, what exactly had happened? To begin with, Sports Direct’s no frills, low-cost business model was a bad fit for the Austrian market. Sport is a serious matter in Austria, and one might even say that it is an important part of individuals’ self-fulfillment. Intersport Eybl’s loyal core customers particularly were used to outstanding advice from well-informed sales associates. They were used to high-end store design and wanted top of the line products that are both high-performing and fashionable. Sports Direct, however, gave their customer a bare bones environment with lower-priced products that were often in-store brands instead of global brands. Rumor even has it that Sports Direct has such a mistrust of its employees that it requires them to wear pants without pockets for the fear of theft, which is deeply insulting to Austrians who usually take pride in their work. It comes as no surprise that Sports Direct lost its best employees and that employee quality, morale and engagement of the remaining staff were not up to Austrian customers’ expectations. Austrians who shop for lower-priced sports equipment buy them online or in discount retail, but not in sports retail. In addition, competition got vicious. For instance, the remaining Intersport entity offered a EUR 50 voucher to all former Intersport Eybl (and now Sports Direct) customers who were willing to switch their loyalty cards. In addition, Intersport and other retailers aggressively opened new stores at an unprecedented pace, making it even tougher for Sports Direct to compete.
By 2016, Austrian customers had largely turned their backs on Sports Direct. Only less than half of Austrians recognized the brand in tests according to market research firm Gallup, as opposed to almost 100% for Intersport. To make the mess complete, recently Norwegian sports retailer XXL also entered Austria, and French competitor Decathlon has announced its entry for later in 2018. Looks like another curve ball is coming Sports Direct’s way.
March 19, 2018 @ 5:00 pm
This is a very accurate description of what was going on after Sports Direct’s acquisition of Intersport Eybl. I was a rather loyal Intersport Eybl customer myself for many years – and the reasoning behind my loyalty was simple: I am a sports enthusiast, just like many Austrians. I love sports, and I love high-quality sports equipment. If I shop for my equipment, I highly value advice from people who are as crazy as I am – Intersport Eybl’s employees all were experts in their respective fields, and I could discuss with them the benefits of the different top brands. Personal recommendations are the strongest buying reason, and Eybl’s sales staff was able to convey their expert opinion in a very trustworthy and helpful way.
Once Sports Direct came in, I have been in one of their stores just one time – and I have no reason to come back. They completely misunderstood the business model of Intersport Eybl – selling high quality sport solutions with professional advice to sports enthusiasts. Sports Direct is a low cost sports store that wanted to attract people with special offers on no-name brand products. All high quality gear and staff expertise is gone, and I’m gone too. I doubt that there is much future for Sports Direct in Austria, unless they learn their lesson and take a hard look at what Austrians wan when they shop for sports equipment.
March 24, 2018 @ 11:41 pm
This case is very interesting for me as back in 2014 I did a case study, which dealt with the market launch of Sports Direct in Austria. In the course of that we did a strategic SWOT analysis. Four years later it is obvious that Sports Direct missed to work on its weaknesses and risks and even didn´t take advantage of its opportunities.
In 2014 we identified the risk that the positioning could fail and that customer acceptance might fail. Further more we addressed weaknesses in regard to the degree of brand awareness, know how as well as lack of experience in the premium segment.
Still, we discovered opportunities in regard to service, winter sport and the premium segment as well as the discount customer.
Sports Direct introduced itself as a sport discounter, but took over the shops of Intersport Eybl, which was well established in the premium segment. Thus the shops captivated with appealing design in prime locations. The locations are far away of the places were Sports Direct´s target group is buying. It could have lead to a better development if Sport Direct would have locate its shops close to other discounters like Primark, Lidl and Kik. Sports Direct also focused on own brands which haven´t been well known in Austria – there are still not common. In a nutshell, Sports Direct tried to launch its concept into the Austrian market without any adaptions. From todays point of view I do not see that the development will take a positive turn for Sport Direct.
April 1, 2018 @ 2:13 pm
This is a very accurate, comprehensive description about what went wrong when entering the Austrian market.
From my perspective, that is driven by my personal experience as well, Sports Direct ignored local peculiarities of the Austrian market structure and customer culture.
First, quickly after entering the market Sports Direct made negative headlines with the descried “special” trousers for their employees. That was just “the tip of the iceberg” and accompanied by rumors about an employer unfriendly culture, harsh working conditions and low wages. All in all an image that is a serious thread for customer relationships in Austria.
Next the change in shop design and layout damaged customer experience. Typical Eybl customers aim for high quality and customer orientation whereas the Sports Direct design is more typical for a discounter. In addition, the Austrian customers were baffled by the new shop layout, especially by the counter´s position in the center of the store, which is very untypical for Austria. Many people I know complained about this concept.
Finally, the shop assortment did not fit to customer expectations.
– I personally experienced most items as of low quality – something that I would get to a better prize but with better quality at Hofer (the Austrian Aldi). The view items of higher quality were relatively expensive and of low variety.
– Eybl was known for optimizing the shop assortment to local requirements – i.e. offering horse riding equipment in areas where this sport is popular and the shop is surrounded by several horse barns. Sports Direct did not do that, former loyal customers got frustrated.
April 2, 2018 @ 6:52 am
This is totally true and I’m sure everybody who ever had the chance to compare former Intersports Eybl and Sports Direct would agree.
As the article states, most Austrians shop for high quality sports equipment. The enthusiasts as Wolfgang names them also search for individuality.
Sportswear is either bought for it’s quality or it’s popularity due to thw brand and what commercials tell us they stand for.
Sports direct came with a totally different concept!
A few years ago I entered one of their shops and in the first moment I was ocerwhelmed of their prices. When I took a closer look at the articles I recognized their bad quality.
In my opinion it is like Primak, that also came to Austria now. But at Primak people more often just look for cheap good looking cloths. Many of them don’t care if they wear plasric fabrics.
Sport enthusiasts are a completely different market that Sports Direct does not address at all. They shop for brand, quality, recommendation and technology. Most of them do no care of a higher prize if the mentioned things personally fit to their style.
I also found it a little bit strange that in the store I visited, the pay desk was in the back of the shop and not at the exit.
All in all, Austrians are very picky of their sports equipment and a better market research could have prevente Sports Direct from this failure.
April 3, 2018 @ 8:23 pm
In no case I want to give the impression, that in retrospect I know everything better. That is unfair and not my intention. But the difficulties of the British Sports Direct in Austria were really predictable, at the latest when the Ex-Eybl customers left the Sports Direct shops a bit distraught and the first letters of the editor were printed in the newspaper about the shocked customers. From then on Sports Direct would have had to rethink the new and for Ex-Eybl customers unusual concept. Obviously, they did not.
The Ebyl customers were ready to pay more for quality products, I myself also belonged to the regular customers of Eybl. Maybe Austria was over-Eybled at this time with too many flagship stores – and very high fixed costs – but Eybl’s strategy, perceived by the customers, was okay, even if the strategy was a big issue within the family and the management board. The combination of enough customers, who are willing to pay for good quality, shops in prime locations and motivated and engaged employees that sounds like a self-selling item. Probably Sports Direct would not have had to change much, in my opinion a process of “shrinking down to health” would have been enough to put the organization back on track for growth.
But Sports Direct management was convinced that their own company-concept would also succeed in Austria. The rest is history.
April 7, 2018 @ 5:29 pm
That is interesting to read, because honestly a friend of mine and I we like SportsDirect actually and we are good customers. The reason is that we both do not care about brands and fashion for sportswear, but that is for sure not the usual customer in Austria. The usual customer from my experience spends more money on the equipment like skis, clothes and so on then for actual doing sport. Nevertheless I agree that there are some obvious mistakes that are correctly described, like there are no sellers for instance. The people who are wandering around in the stored do not care about the customers and if you ask for specific information they have no clue at all. Further it seems to me that they are not educated how to sell at all. I did not know the story that there were no pockets for the employees, but I totally agree that this behaviour harms the Austrian work mentality completely.
April 9, 2018 @ 11:10 am
Sports Direct is the shop in Austria when I want to buy something for any sport that I recently just started and thus do not want to spend much money on it. Meaning that I do not know yet if I am going to continue with it or not. Thus, I do not want to spend much money on it.
If I enjoy the sport I might go to Intersport to get some advice from well-educated sales people and buy high-quality goods. I do not know if I am the only one doing so but for me that is the way how I do it.
Therefore, the summary of what happened to Sports Direct could not be more accurate. They entered the Austrian market with their low-cost model but realized soon that this is not the way Austrians buy their sports products.
The market entry strategy Sports Direct chose reminds me very much of the one Walmart is using to enter foreign markets which is “one strategy fits all”. They did not adapt their strategy to the local market. Additionally, local habits of their main target group were completely left out as well.
I am sure Sports Direct did some research did some market research, but they missed out on the essential ones. Meaning that they did not look at the details about customers and how they prefer to shop for sports equipment. Preferable high-quality goods and outstanding advisor which is exactly the opposite what they are offering.
April 15, 2018 @ 3:54 pm
This is a very interesting description of what happened to Sports Direct in Austria.
Looking at Sports Direct in the UK, it seems as if this setup works fine. Still, in Austria the struggled to gain market share.
The main question for me in this case is: Did the products match the Austrian market needs?
Talking about “products” in this case means the products itself plus the proposition of Sports Direct (brand, pricing, etc.).
The question is, if Sports Direct analyzed the Austrian market and the customer needs upfront. Taking over former “Eybl” shops might be an indicator that they did not. Eybl was well know for high quality due to highly skilled sales staff and the position at the upper area when it comes to pricing.
Changing the whole perception and portfolio then at the selected locations should have been identified as a risk upfront.
Would be interesting to have more details about their strategy when it comes to product readiness and market entry mode selection before Sports Direct decided to enter the Austrian market ….
July 4, 2018 @ 11:19 am
Sports Direct’s entry to Austria is a really interesting example for not taking into consideration the expectations and attitudes of the customers in a foreign market.
Had they informed themselves better about the Austrian attitude towards sports, they would have understood, that the majority of Austrians are ready to pay quite some money for high quality sports gear and they expect excellent advice from the staff to get a feeling of security when using the sports equipment. This idea can also be supported by the Uncertainty Avoidance Index of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. Austria ranks in the 37th place, compared to Great Britain, which ranks at the 69th place. This means, Austrian people in comparison to British people worry more about the future and try to avoid risks as much as possible. Since sports in general can be risky, at least the used equipment should provide maximum safety – such safety can be achieved when buying the equipment in a “trustworthy” and high quality sports store. Giving this dimension of uncertainty avoidance a second thought could have helped Sports Direct to come up with some solutions how to decrease the perceived risk and deliver a more trustworthy image to the Austrian customers so that they would have appreciated the lower prices they could get at Sports Direct – higher trust and solid quality paired with low prices could then have become a competitive strength for Sports Direct in Austria.
July 4, 2018 @ 3:07 pm
I can fully understand why the concept of Sports Direct did not work in Austria at all. I am myself a very sports interested person and for this reason I know what people, like me, pay attention to – high quality and well-known brands. Only about every fifth sports item I possess is from a no name brand, and I only bought them because they somehow caught my eye due to an exceptional design. However I do not know anyone, who would go to a sports-discount store to shop only no name products, because first of all Austrians have a high average income and can therefore afford themselves brand items and secondly, the purpose of the sports clothes (sweat less, flexibility, durability) would somehow not be fulfilled because of the bad quality.
July 7, 2018 @ 8:45 am
I am just sad and it nearly hurts to read about the ruin of Intersport Eybl and the appearance of Sports Direct – a horrible development of being advised by well-informed sales associates with a great variety of choice of top products to a completely overloaded shop-concept with no-name, low-quality products without sales advice.
I surely can understand that there was a need of change of the business model in order to secure a future, but knowing about the uncertainty avoidance level according to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension of Austria – where especially sports place a major role and is part of the national pride – could have prevented from the amassed losses of Sports Direct. Security is a really important topic for Austrians and especially in the field of sports and the sports equipment should provide trust and safety.
Secondly, low power distance in Austria implies a great-working atmosphere, which for sure was not offered at Sports Direct – see pants without pockets in order to prevent any theft – but which “valuable” products exactly should or could have been stolen there?
October 31, 2018 @ 5:21 pm
Palanga, Siauliai There are four international airports
operating in Lithuania – in Kaunas, and, of course,
in Vilnius, and there are more than 30 smaller airports
and military airfields. In Estonia, airports are mainly
located in the capital in Tallinn, as well as in Tartu,
Kuressaare, Kerdle and Parnu. These are international
airports, however, there are more than 15 private and
military airports and so-called airports of local importance
located throughout the country. Latvia still has only two
international airports – in Riga and in Liepaja; there are
also small airdromes, for example, in Spilva, in Tukums and
Ventspils, and several other military flight platforms though.
Riga International Airport entered the top five rapidly
growing airports in Europe last year, which lead to an
increase in the number of passengers by 16.2%. Therefore,
it underscores the fact that even though the airport in
Liepaja will have to put a lot of time and effort to its
development, it brings a great potential, which can give a
significant and valuable contribution to the domestic
economy of the country.
February 6, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Here is an example of an organization that needed to re-brand itself into a value added product line for the specific culture. Clearly they needed someone on the staff who understands business research and the ability to find out what the consumer trends are. Austria is an outdoor sports mecca. Hiking, bicycling, skiing, and other sports are prevalent throughout the nation. Had Sports Direct been able to focus on these needs with value added products similar to Patagonia in the US, they may have been able to turn their decline around.
March 16, 2019 @ 6:57 pm
Prior to the acquisition of Intersport Eybl, Sports Direct had forgotten to analyze the societal aspect of the PESTEL framework for the market and the customers of Intersport Eybl. In England, the concept of selling sports goods over the price works well. In Austria, Eybl’s customers bought quality and advice, and Sports Direct did not take that into account. The strategic orientation of Sports Direct did not fit the Austrian market, especially to Eybl customers. The advantages and USP’s of Sports Direct (favorable price, own brand …) became a disadvantage in the Austrian market. The private label was not associated with high quality, thus resulting in a non-purchase decision for the customers. In this case, Sports Direct should have increased the quality and make it known by e.g. expert tests in the market. Thus, they could have positively influenced product readiness and their image on the Austrian market.
I believe that Sports Direct has chosen an unsystematic approach to market entry through the insolvency and good market share of Intersport Eybl. They see low hanging fruits! That’s why Sports Direct did not analyze a few key points to make a systematic and successful market entry.
For Sports Direct, in my view, an indirect market entry (export mode) via a regional Austrian partner would have been successful. As a result, they could have drawn attention to their own brand and conducted market analyzes before entering the market as an enterprise (investment mode).
March 30, 2019 @ 3:16 pm
I can remember, when I entered a Sports Direct store for the first time some years ago. My expectation was that I will find a store similarly to the one I was used to buy my sports equipment (Intersport). However, I was quickly disabused of any prior expectation I may have had, because everything was different. The shop was messy with unclear arrangements, and the staff was practically not present. Furthermore, I did not know the brands which Sports Direct was selling.
Now, several years later I still did not buy anything from Sports Direct. My first experience with them was also my last one. I am one of the many unforgiving customers who didn’t like the selling concept of Sports Direct and I am one of them for whom Sports Direct ought to have adapted their products. Customers and markets are different than in Great Britain and Sports Direct didn’t notice it before they entered the Austrian market. Although corporate readiness for the market entry to Austria was given, they had serious problems and in retrospect, it was a serious mistake that Sports Direct didn’t adapt to the Austrian market which almost have turned out badly for them.
April 15, 2019 @ 9:31 pm
Intersport’s challenges in the market are not isolate to Austria or this one case. It is common that business expands internationally and is met with obstacle that is not properly prepared for. In this situation, Sport’s Direct bought the struggling intersport and thought with their access to the market that it would become profitable. Unfortunately, it is not that simple or easy. Sports Direct business strategy to sell affordable gear with no frills did not fit the Austrian’s market tastes. With sports being such a serious manner in Austria, the consumers wanted premium product with gear experts to explain all of the frills and specs. In addition, their was internal mistrust within Sports Direct which also did not mesh well with Austria’s trusting employee culture. These two factors hurt both Sports Direct’s staffing as well as loyal consumer. Austrian who were looking for discount product already had online shops or discount retailers where they were loyal too. This article is a great example of Sport’s Direct only looking at their opportunities, but not doing a in-depth analysis of the rest of analysis when purchasing the Austrian Sports Retailer.
March 16, 2020 @ 11:43 am
When the sports goods retailers Sports Experts and Sport Eybl were taken over by SportsDirect in 2013, the original store concept was probably adhered to the original, typical British layout and the shops were immediately adapted to this. When I visited SportsDirect for the first time, I immediately thought to myself: Gosh, what a junk shop.
An exemplary failed attempt to penetrate the Austrian market. Some international companies had already failed, for example Walmart.
The biggest mistake that SportsDirect made in my opinion is probably the lack of analyzing the Austrian market and its consumer behavior before entering the market. As already mentioned in the article, the Austrian sports enthusiast pays attention to quality and brand presence. SportsDirect advertises with different kinds of goods (not just sports), has completely overcrowded shops, no professional advice, an extremely unsuitable advertising format and an unappealing shop design which does not do justice to the Austrian customer. If you compare SportsDirect, for example, with the new competitor XXL, you easily can figure out they did a much better job.
January 16, 2021 @ 12:15 pm
This blogpost is a perfect example of how global expansion should not happen. Sports Direct – the no. 1 sports retailer in the UK, saw the perfect opportunity to conquer the Austrian market with the acquisition of Intersport Eybl. After all, Eybl held about 25% market share and had stores in excellent locations. What could possibly go wrong?
In my view, however, Sports Direct made the biggest mistake a company can make in terms of internationalization. They simply took the existing model, which was successful in their home country, and applied it 1:1 to the new market without taking into account the Austrian let’s say sports culture at all. The consequences are well known. The company has suffered enormous financial losses and had to close many branches. It seems that the company started to analyze the Austrian market and the needs of the domestic customers only in retrospect and adapted the concept of the stores accordingly, instead of doing the homework in advance and tackling the market with a systematic approach.
Despite the adapted concept, I personally do not think that Sports Direct will be successful on the Austrian market in the long term but will eventually withdraw step by step.
January 23, 2021 @ 2:21 pm
When SportsDirect entered the Austrian market, they clearly wanted to place themselves as the number 1 discounter for sports equipment. For them, it might have looked like a blue ocean as the dominating companies like Gigasport or Intersport were all focusing on high quality, selling well known brands.
SportsDirect brought in their own brands, placed them at a very low price and in addition to that, added extreme discounts on top. “Buy one get one 50% off” or even “Buy one get one free” is written all over their store, but these discount strategies did not resonate at all with the Austrian customers. It led to a reputation of “trash-products” and is the reason that there are not even 30 stores left today, even though they have started in 2013 with 80.
However, that large discount models can work in Austria is proven by XXL sports. When you walk into that store, you will also get the feeling that everything is on sale – all the time. The difference is that they are just working with well known brands of the sports industry and they are placing themselves similar to an outlet store, where customers expect cheap prices but still high quality.
January 24, 2021 @ 10:55 am
I can still remember exactly how my whole family and I always loved going to the Intersport Eybl store in Graz. We are all passionate about sports, from tennis to soccer to skiing. Of course, high-quality equipment was always important to us as well. Since the takeover of Sports Direct, that has changed abruptly. The former Intersport Eybl stores are no longer recognizable. Instead of a well-stocked assortment of all the well-known sports brands, there is now disorganized, low-quality merchandise. The aisles are also completely blocked and look like a labyrinth through which you have to fight your way to the checkout. In my opinion, Sports Direct has not understood the Austrian sports market, and their business concept (product readiness) is not adapted to the market. Due to the many ski resorts and the great passion for sports throughout the country, I think we in Austria are used to quality, referring to the products, the store design, as well as the people working there. At Direct Sports stores, all this doesn’t exist. Instead, you find goods in rummage baskets and behind closed showcases. Unless Sports Direct does a 180° turn and rethinks its concept, it will continue to be unsuccessful in the Austrian market.
February 22, 2021 @ 9:19 pm
Sports Direct made several mistakes when entering the Austrian market. First, Spots Direct focused on the wrong products. In sport business, a one-product, fits-all strategy does not work in completely different countries. Austria has a strong hiking, jogging, soccer, and winter sports tradition. Sports Direct tried to sell also products for typical British or American customers like cricket, golf, baseball, and American football, which are widely uncommon in Austria. Prices and information tags were mainly in English. The prices were low but didn’t come up to the Austrian quality expectations. Second, stores were completely overloaded with products and not optimized for a good customer flow. Third, Sports Direct focused on hiring young and untrained sales staff.
To sum up, the Austrian didn’t feel comfortable in the shops. The Austrian shopping behavior differs from the British. In general, sport has a very high standing in society; people buy less but in a higher quality. The expectation is to look good when doing a workout or to hike up a mountain. Therefore, trained staff with time to advise customers is necessary.
The Norwegian XXL-Sport entered the Austrian market in the right way. In central Vienna, XXL took over a former Sport Direct premises. The Norwegian focused more on outdoor equipment for sports in cold and rough environments like skiing, hiking, hunting, and climbing. Prices are medium, focusing on the middle class with a certain quality approach. The Norwegians have put high quality in the front and not just the price.
February 22, 2021 @ 10:24 pm
The example of sports direct is a really tragic one that I can personally relate to quite well. In Graz, Webling at the Shopping Center West used to be a very nice and attractive Intersport Eybl store that I really liked going to for many years for different reasons. For example I bought a high quality leather jacket there (which does not have to do anything with sports whatsoever). Sports Direct also took over this store and when going there right now, you will not find anything like that anymore and you will be disappointed in the end. I also recognized from my personal environment that many Austrians also were not willing to support this British “stranger” as much as an Austrian company with a long tradition.
When thinking about Decathlon for example, price worthy offers come to my mind immediately. The first time I encountered Decathlon (actually in Spain) when I bought a sleeveless jacket for 20 Euros which I frequently wear since 5 years now. Obviously a good experience. The same counts for XXL sports where I just recently bought (online!!!) some hiking shoes and a skiing jacket for 180€ total at a good sale.
I am very curious how long Sports Direct can survive in this highly competitive environment without having a big competitive advantage.
April 8, 2022 @ 10:18 pm
I can still remember when the Intersport Eybl store in Graz was switched to a Sports Direct one. I personally can relate to the statement that Austrians expect a high standard when getting advice from the employees at sports stores. In my opinion the needs of the Austrian customers and thus the Austrian market were evaluated wrong before Sports Direct entered the market. I would like to relate this to the example of FIAT going to the US market, which resulted in a failure as well. The Fiat 500 as a signature car was not suitable for the US market like it was for the Italian one. I see it similar with the services and products Sports Direct provided. In my opinion the market needs before entering the market should have been addressed in more detail and an intense focus should have been placed on the barriers for a successful market start in Austria. Thus, adaption to the Austrian market would have been necessary with special focus on skilled employees to provide the advising services for the customer.
July 8, 2022 @ 8:35 pm
When buying sports equipment for myself, I really prefer high quality products. In case of this, I would rather go to a professional store, where I have a big choice of high-quality brands than going to a retailer. Austria is very well known for hiking, skiing, climbing and so on. Excellent and fashionable equipment is a very high priority for sport enthusiasts. Intersport, Giga Sport and Hervis give them the finest sport products as well as skilled employees whereas creating a very special customer experience with the design and layout of the stores. In comparison, when buying products at Sport Direct, a positive customer experience is not given at all for the Austrians. In my eyes, the atmosphere is very unfriendly and also the cheaper prices give the feeling of low-quality products and lead to dissatisfaction. Of course, the sport factor in England is not the same than in Austria, but when entering Austrian Markets, you should really adapt your concepts and think about culture, lifestyles and habits.
March 19, 2023 @ 10:46 am
Sports Direct (almost) gone.
I still remember when they closed my favorite sports shop in Linz: Eybl and almost the next day Sports Direct shops sprouted up like mushrooms all over Austria. Everyone was curious about the new reseller in the sports equipment market, but the first visit was disillusioning. The shop did not look welcoming, more like an outlet, but what frustrated me the most was that no one could offer advice on specific equipment. They have not sufficiently analyzed the target market, nor adapted to it.
It feels like the same story is happening to XXL Sports. A year ago, they opened a store in Klagenfurt and just announced they will close it soon. XXL made the same mistake as Sports Direct: Not adapting to the Austrian culture of sports, customer needs, and desires. Entering a new market should be well-planned and researched. In addition, a cooperation with locals (companies) would be beneficial.
On the other hand “trial and error” is important too – the courage to acknowledge our mistakes.
Let’s see what the competitive sports industry has in mind in the next years and which retailers trying to conquer the Austrian market.