Greater brand awareness translates into bigger U.K. e-commerce sales for Sports Direct

Web sales for the British sporting goods chain increased 52% in fiscal 2013.

Mark Brohan

It was a good fiscal 2013 online and overall for Sports Direct International PLC, which operates one of the biggest sporting goods retail chains in the United Kingdom.

For the 2013 fiscal year ended April 28, Sports Direct, No. 94 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Europe 500 reported:

“Our online business continues to benefit from the group’s brand recognition and investment in online product range and availability,” says Sports Direct CEO David Forsey.

Sports Direct has launched several recent initiatives to increase its e-commerce business and brand awareness, especially with younger and more active athletes in the U.K, Forsey says. Over the last 18 months the company renamed 326 stores from Sports Direct to SportsDirect.com to identify more closely with younger online shoppers, the company says. Along with the name change, the merchant also added 1 million square feet of fulfillment space near its corporate headquarters outside of London to pick, pack and ship Internet orders, and added a buy online, pick up in store program, also known in Europe as click and collect.

Another way Sports Direct will promote its brand is by becoming a magazine publisher. In May, Sports Direct launched Sportsdirect.com magazine, a monthly publication that will focus on sport and fitness. Consumers can buy the publication in Sports Direct stores and via a tablet application, which will allow readers to shop from the magazine’s editorial pages, the merchant says

“Online remains a significant growth opportunity,” Forsey says.


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