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Asics reported to have halted supplies to UK independent sports shops.

Posted on in Business News

The Guardian has reported independent sports retailers saying their businesses are under threat after Asics said it was cutting off supply to hundreds of small UK outlets, joining Nike and Adidas in ditching smaller retailers in favour of big chains and selling direct online.

Orange Asics trainor

The newspaper quotes Dipu Patel, owner of Euro Sports in north London, saying he had received an email from Asics telling him it would no longer supply him with trainers.

Sales of the Japanese footwear brand, which makes tennis star Novak Djokovic’s trainers, comprise 40% of Mr Patel’s footwear sales at his sports shop in Swiss Cottage. He received an email last month telling him supplies would be halted from January.

“It’s a shock to the system,” he said. “We will be losing [Asics] customers – they will buy it online. [Asics] have used us as a stepping stone to be where they are and then are going to sell direct.”

In a letter seen by the Guardian, Asics said it was halting supplies from next year after “reassessing the relationship with many of our customers”.

The Guardian article reports it as a hefty blow to hundreds of specialist retailers already suffering from rising costs and weakening demand since the pandemic surge in sales of sports kit. Some larger independent retailers have been cut off by Asics, which sent out emails last month, but other smaller ones have been left in place leaving stockists scratching their heads as to the criteria Asics has used to slim down its distribution. Several retailers said they had sought more information but not received a reply.

Asics has become an important brand for many independent retailers in recent years after Nike and Adidas stopped supplying many smaller outlets to focus on their own stores and websites or major chains such as Sports Direct and JD Sports in the UK.

Nick Mavrides at Ace Sports in Kentish Town, north London, is quoted as saying at least 30% of his sales were reliant on Asics. “Our business is under threat. Everything in our running range is Asics from a child’s size 10 to a men’s 14. It is a massive part of our business. They are following in the footsteps of Adidas and Nike.”

He said the government should be looking at the issue with supplies for smaller stores saying the situation with big sports brands was like “going to your local corner shops and finding they don’t stock Kellogg’s Cornflakes”.

Mavrides suggested Asics had only stuck with independent retailers in smarter areas. “It’s like saying that anyone in NW5 is not worthy of their goods as they are not posh enough,” he said.

Asics did not respond to The Guardian’s request for comment.

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