Blog: Leonie BarriePrice war kicks off

Leonie Barrie | 28 February 2006

It seems you can’t have a football tournament without an accompanying row over the price of the kit. The debate is already underway with the new +F50 Tunit customisable football boot from Adidas which comes with a range of interchangeable components. A starter kit sells for EUR180 (US$217.49), while the deluxe kit has an eye-watering price tag of EUR350 – prompting calls from parent groups to embargo the boots.

The aggressiveness with which the big sportswear companies tap into the lucrative fan market has also been called into question over the new replica England World Cup football strips from Umbro. The sportswear manufacturer asked retailers to sign an embargo saying that they would not sell the strips until today (28 February) and even refused to supply cost-cutting stores such as Asda. But such is the ingenuity of the supermarket group that it not only managed to source 5,000 shirts on the grey market – but it also cut the price of an ‘away’ shirt to half of Umbro’s recommended retail price. Asda’s price slashing was quickly followed by Sports World and JJB Sports.

It’s not so long ago – 2003 in fact – that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found ten companies guilty of fixing the price of Umbro soccer kits. Since the investigation there is no doubt that prices of replica football shirts have fallen and consumers can now shop around and get a better deal. But it now looks like sportswear companies are either resorting to expensive add-ons, restrictive distribution, or simply capitalising on children’s ‘pester power’ to generate more sales.



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