Intersport is looking for new ways to grow. The shopping center specializing in sportswear and sports equipment is expected to conclude the first quarter of 2019 with several sales transactions, and the group wants to expand its online business, expecting growth prospects for 2019 to far exceed 2018 sales.
To put this growth driver in place, Intersport has a new leader. On Friday, Steve Evers was appointed new CEO of the company, taking the place of Victor V. Duran who stepped down.
Between 1990 and 2001, Steve Evers held various management positions with the Dutch multinational Hagemeyer Group and was Managing Director of Intersport and The Athlete's Foot in the Netherlands and Belgium.
In a statement, Chairman of the Board, Jussi Mikkola, said he believes that Steve Evers has an extensive knowledge of the retail sports goods market and its consumers, making him ideal for the position.
'Proud and privileged to lead the world's largest sports goods retailer'
"I officially start on February 1, after nine years on the board of directors of Euretco and EK / servicegroup eG, the licensee and shareholder for Intersport in the Netherlands. I have been a member of the Supervisory Board of IIC-INTERSPORT International GmbH since 2015 and last year I held the position of Vice President," explains Evers in an interview with FashionUnited.
"I am now going to start my new role as CEO and I feel very proud and privileged to take the helm of the world's largest sporting goods retailer with a presence in 58 countries across five continents and a revenue of nearly 12 billion euros," says Evers.
After exceeding its sales targets with the launch of its commercial site, Intersport plans to continue pushing forward and expand its product offering in the second quarter.
Evers added: “The execution of the Intersport 2.0 global strategy will be at the heart of our business - we will continue digitization and verticalization of the group. We will also develop our brand portfolio and strengthen the alliance with global strategic brands.
"Being omnipresent and omnichannel is paramount for us. We have developed a strategy in a digital world and not the other way around. Being very close to the consumer, building indestructible relationships and working with "local heroes" (physical and digital proximity) makes Intersport unalterable from the consumer's point of view.”
Retail sales increase by 0.7 percent in 2018
Intersport recorded retail-adjusted sales growth of 0.7 percent. Sales reached 11.6 billion euros (including 11.9 billion euros from The Athlete's Foot). At the end of 2018, the Swiss group had 5,562 outlets worldwide (5,647 in 2017) and was represented in 43 countries (56 countries, including TAF markets) After a stronger first half, sales growth was hit by the extremely hot autumn and the late start of winter, resulting in a 0.8 percent decline in sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the previous year. The growth was achieved in all categories except winter sports, which declined at a rate of less than 10 per cent. Due to difficult weather conditions, the French and Austrian markets, as well as most South-East European countries (Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania) have recorded the highest growth rates. Countries heavily dependent on winter sports activity suffered in the second half of 2018.
Rapid growth of The Athlete's Foot continues
The Athlete's Foot has a consistent positive momentum: global retail sales rose 9.4 percent, adjusted for currency exchange, to 363 million euros, driven by strong trade statistics in Mexico and new stores around the world, including Europe (Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden). With over 537 sales outlets in 31 markets across five continents, The Athlete's Foot sales network has grown steadily in 2018 from 523 stores in 2017.
Photos: Steve Evers (Intersport) and the new concept store in Den Haag (The Netherlands). Photo credit: Intersport and screenshots via Youtube