As indicated in the last issue of this publication, Globetrotter Ausrüstung, the big Hamburg-based specialty retailer, has finally decided to no longer develop and purchase private-label items in the framework of Euro Family, the informal pan-European network of big outdoor and sporting goods retailers. Euro Family said, however, that Globetrotter will remain a partner as far as the exchange of experience and expertise is concerned.

Andreas Bartmann, managing partner of Globetrotter, explained the move by stating that there has been a growing rift among various factions within the network, partly due to the different nature of the participating retailers. Most of them are general sporting goods retailers with some focus on the outdoor category such as Sport Förg in Augsburg, Breuninger in Stuttgart, Engelhorn in Mannheim ? all of them in Germany ? Sportler in Bolzano, Italy, and its friends of Sport Alliance and the Austrian Gigasport chain.

Recently Globetrotter and the Swiss Transa chain have been the only pure outdoor retailers within the group. Bartmann pointed out that it does not make sense that one part of the group buys the outdoor-related items labeled Kaikkialla and Meru, while the others are after Hot Stuff, the group's exclusive brand for other sports products.

As a result, Globetrotter became the largest buyer by far of Kaikkialla and Meru with a share of up to 50 percent of the total volume. Under this circumstance, Globetrotter came to the conclusion that it made sense that the chain would do its own thing. The decision was accelerated by the fact that Bever, the large Dutch specialty chain, turned its back on the group some three years ago, which meant the volume of purchase for outdoor gear lost one of its most prominent buyers. In  addition, it should not be forgotten that some of the other retailers within the Euro Family are simultaneously affiliated with Intersport or Sport 2000, the big international buying groups through which they enjoy access to those networks' exclusive labels as well. At the beginning of the year, Gigasport, the big Austrian sporting goods chain, sealed a strategic partnership with the national section of Sport 2000.

Bartmann says that Globetrotter's decision has no influence on any decision made by Transa of Switzerland even though the German retailer holds a 25 percent stake in that company. Bartmann emphasized that Transa's management was autonomous in its decision  on whether the Swiss chain wanted to stay in or leave Euro Family. For Globetrotter itself, no decision has been made so far on the company's future policy on private labels. The current partnership with Euro Family will run through 2014. Bartmann said that he could imagine a closer partnership with the brands to keep the retailer strong in the lower price ranges as well. It is certainly not excluded that Globetrotter would come up with its own private label, but a comprehensive strategy has yet to be developed.