JD Sports and Sports Direct are most likely to boost from the Olympic Games, according to Verdict Research

JD Sports and Sports Direct are most likely to boost from the Olympic Games, according to Verdict Research

UK retailers are hoping the London 2012 Olympics will contribute to a multi-million pound boost in sales. But will sportswear retailers be the only beneficiaries, or could value retailers expect to see some uplift too? Katie Smith reports. 

UK sports fashion retailers such as JD Sports and Sports Direct are most likely to see a business boost from the upcoming Olympics, according to analysts at Verdict Research.

"Sportswear specialists should perform well and benefit from the Olympics," Honor Westnedge, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, told just-style. "The main players are JD Sports and Sports Direct - [they] will grow market share during 2012."

Buoyed by the Olympics, as well as the fact that these retailers are opening more stores, Verdict forecasts JD Sports will see its UK clothing market share remain flat at 1.5% in 2012, while the company's footwear market share is expected to increase 0.1% to 6.6%.

Meanwhile, Sports Direct's UK clothing market share is expected to climb 0.2% to 1.8% in 2012, with its footwear market share likely to increase 0.5% to 7.9%.

Westnedge added that sportswear retailer Lillywhites may also be a popular choice for tourists and UK consumers to buy Olympic ranges.

However, the London 2012 Games is unlikely to impact sales for these UK sportswear retailers in the long term.

"We're talking about three weeks of the whole year. They might see sales pick up during and post, but I think it will be very gradual. I don't think they'll notice a huge drop off next year," she said.

As for the products that will be the biggest winners as a result of the Games, Westnedge believes: "Obviously branded items, so anything worn during the Olympics by sporting professionals or sports personalities - those brands are going to be the winners, because they'll be recognised and people will buy into that look."

Budget and private label boost
Meanwhile, budget brands and private label manufacturers are also set to see a benefit from the Olympics, says Magdalena Kondej, head of global apparel research at Euromonitor.

"The major sportswear brands involved in sponsoring national teams/individual athletes are obvious winners.

"However, the Olympic effect will extend across the market. Budget brands and private label manufacturers will aim to capitalise on this as well by undercutting the main manufacturers where they can, but it is anticipated that for the duration of the Olympics, brand awareness will continue to be key, with consumers allying with particular favourite stars or sports or teams."

General apparel brands are also positioning themselves to benefit from the Olympics. Indeed, Hennes & Mauritz H&M has opened two pop-up stores in London, which both focus on its sportswear offer, says Kondej. 

"As in the majority of countries, sportswear sales outperform the overall apparel market, so general apparel brands are expected to increasingly move into the sportswear area," she says.

"Novak Djokovic, number one tennis player in the world being recently signed by Uniqlo is another example supporting this trend."

With additional reporting by Petah Marian.