UK sportswear market value to grow 8.6% by 2015

This market report by Research and Markets examines the UK sportswear market, which comprises sports clothing and footwear. The industry is also divided between items used for sports and activity purposes and for fashion and leisurewear. In 2010, the authors estimate that the UK sportswear market was worth 4.5bn at current prices, with sales of clothing making up the majority of the market (72%) compared with footwear (28%).


Sports Direct - the UK’s number 1 sports retailer

Within the industry, Nike and adidas are the global leaders, with a presence around the world for both active and fashion sports clothing and footwear. Both groups comprise a number of brands, with some specifically dedicated to certain sports (i.e. Nike Golf). The largest acquisition took place in 2006, when adidas took over Reebok, which at the time was the third-largest leading sportswear brand. The largest UK-based group in the market is the Pentland Group, which owns a portfolio of sports brands (Berghaus, Speedo) as well as 57% stake in JD Sports Fashion PLC, a leading retail group in the UK. The Pentland Group is a leading competitor in the UK, although it has a global presence through a number of its brands.

In terms of sportswear manufacturing, the majority of the sportswear sold in the UK is imported (around 95%). The UK has been witnessing a decline in the number of manufacturers in the clothing and footwear industry, owing to the lower costs of production and wages available in overseas locations, most noticeably in the Far East, where the People's Republic of China (PRC) is currently the largest exporter of textiles. Regarding sports retailers in the UK, the market is consolidated, with only four leading groups. The leading group is Sports Direct, while JD Sports, JJB Sports and the Blacks Leisure Group make up the rest of the market. Most recently, in 2011, there have been talks about a merger between JD Sports and JJB Sports, which could create further consolidation on the high street, in addition to creating a leading competitor for Sports Direct.

The cost of sports clothing and footwear has recently risen, owing to the rise in VAT, which came into force on 4th January 2011. Similarly, prices are expected to rise further in 2011, particularly of clothing, as the cost of cotton continues to increase, reaching an 18-year high, due to a global shortage. The value of the sportswear market is predicted to increase in the forthcoming years, most noticeably in 2012, coinciding with the upcoming Olympic Games in London. The event is expected to bring millions of spectators to the UK, while merchandise for the event is already on sales. The Olympics will also provide a key marketing opportunity for sports brands to advertise extensively, which will have a positive impact the sportswear industry. The authors estimate that sales of sportswear will show continual growth and amount to 4.89bn in 2015.

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