Olympic opinion: John Hutchinson
CWB talks to Whittakers Schoolwear about London 2012 boosting sales - and reviving interest in sport.
By Laura Turner
16 July 2012
In light of the impending London Olympics, CWB speaks to retailers of school sportswear to see how the event can be used as a platform to boost sales, as well as helping revive schools’ and pupils’ interest in sport in the long-term.
Image: John Hutchinson, managing director, Whittakers Schoolwear, Blackburn
Laura Turner: What do you offer in terms of school sportswear, and how have sales fared for you over the last year?
John Hutchinson: We stock a large sportswear range, including football and rugby shirts, dance uniforms, football shorts and swimwear, and sales have generally increased against last year’s figures. During the last 12 months, many schools have decided to up their game by introducing a fresh feel to their sports kit.
More sports departments seem to want to personalise their kit, too, in order to give the school a special identity. In the past, a regular sports shirt and shorts would have sufficed, but now more attention is being paid to breathable and technical fabrics, as more schools are looking for a higher quality with upmarket fabric styles rather than basics.
LT: It is anticipated that sportswear sales will be boosted for up to a year after the London Olympics. Is this something you are expecting to be reflected in school sportswear sales?
JH: I am certain that the London Olympics will have a massive impact on sportswear sales throughout the country and, indeed, during the ensuing months, with many more students being influenced by the attainments of the athletes in this summer’s Games. To this end, we have set our stocks of sportswear at higher levels in readiness for this season’s onslaught.
LT: Long-term, do you foresee a revival in competitive sports in UK schools as a repercussion of the Olympics?
JH: In the long-term, I think the Olympics will have a hugely beneficial effect on competitive sports in UK schools and, in doing so, should also have a much healthier influence on forthcoming sales figures for retailers.
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