Following the lead of Sport 2000 Germany, which has many specialty outdoor retail members belonging to its Outdoor Profis division, Sport Alliance, the Italian licensee of Sport 2000 International, has set up three “sub-buying groups” for outdoor & ski, running and cycling as part of a new category management program. The German cooperative has also introduced special business units for running and team sports, and Sport 2000 France is going in the same direction.

Furthermore, Sport Alliance last month signed a contract to be the exclusive Italian distributor of Lowe Alpine and Rab, the outdoor brands of the British Equip Outdoor group, starting with the next spring/summer season. It will be able to offer their products to its affiliated retail members under special conditions and make them available to other Italian retailers like any other wholesaler. The group has similar deals with On Running and Bulls Bike.

Sport Alliance, which coordinates purchases and marketing programs for 267 affiliated stores, is equally owned by two big Italian sporting goods retailers, Sportler and Sportland, which are already deeply involved in the broad outdoor sector. It is a member of the Eurofamily, which develops the Meru private label of accessible outdoor products for the other retailers that belong to the European group. Besides Sport Alliance, they are Bergzeit, the German online retailer, and Transa in Switzerland, Gigasport in Austria, Eventyr in Denmark and Breuninger, Engelhorn and Förg in Germany. Eurofamily was launched many years ago by the Oberrauch family, which owns Sportler as well as Bergzeit.

More than 15 retail accounts affiliated with Sport Alliance generate nearly 20 percent of their annual turnover from outdoor and ski products. In this segment, Sport Alliance has already struck special deals with the Tecnica Group and other companies, and it is working on others. Hoka One One is one of its partners in the running segment along with Asics, Brooks and New Balance.

Following the appointment two years ago of Alessandro Riva, a former manager at Intersport Italia, as its sales and marketing manager, Sport Alliance has also developed a new web store, called sport2000.it, that will be launched at the end of this month to promote its image as a specialist in performance sports. It will provide product information for the brands of Tecnica and other companies, and it will feature a store locator. There is a plan to develop it into an internet marketplace for many brands.

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