Intersport teams up with Suning group to boost retail business in China
Since 2013, when sport retailer Intersport first entered China, the group has opened some 20 stores in the country. Now, after signing a franchising contract with the Suning group, a major local retail operator, it is planning a more widespread expansion there. The declared objective is to become nothing less than the leader in omnichannel distribution in the country for sport equipment. By comparison, Decathlon operates 294 stores in China, its second-largest market worldwide after France.
The Suning group was established in 1990 and it developed very quickly, creating a network of 12,800 stores in over 600 Chinese cities, notably selling electronic and digital products. Its website is also a powerful commercial tool, with over 400 million users. In the last few years, Suning has diversified in the sporting world, notably buying Chinese Super League football club Jiangsu Sainty and, in 2016, Italian top flight club Internazionale Milan. It also holds the broadcasting rights in China for Europe’s five main football leagues.
“Football, fitness, and a penchant for a healthy lifestyle are increasingly popular in China. For this reason, Suning took the strategic decision to extend its retail business into the sport equipment market,” said Gary Gong, vice-president of Suning, which generates revenue of CNY557.8 billion, equivalent to approximately €73 billion. No details were provided about the number of store openings planned by Intersport in China but, seeing its partner’s retail fire-power, it ought to be significant.
With this new agreement, Intersport continues its international expansion, after the group recorded global sales of €11.6 billion last year (+0.7% at constant exchange rates), through its 5,500 affiliated stores in 44 countries.
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