Mammut Sports Group has decided to no longer supply Sports Direct International (SDI), the huge British sports retailer with stores across Europe. Rolf Schmid, Mammut's chief executive, said that the decision had been taken “for strategic reasons,” and it would help to maintain its quality standards to the benefit of consumers. It will come into effect from the 2014-2015 autumn/winter season.
Mammut's move comes after SDI bought all the shares of Austria's Sport Eybl & Sports Experts between May 2013 and April this year. Apparently, the higher-end Swiss outdoor brand is unhappy about the way its products are displayed at Sports Direct and its affiliated operations, for example in Austria.
Mammut is the only outdoor company so far to have made a public statement on its concerns with regard to Sports Direct. As detailed in Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe, the British retailer has been at loggerheads with Adidas for the last months, over the German company's decision to quit supplying some high-end Adidas football replica shirts to SDI (and the argument could intensify since Adidas announced its sponsorship deal with Manchester United).
At the OutDoor show, a couple of other high-profile brands (which do not want to be named) expressed their concerns about the developments in the Austrian market, where SDI appears to be transforming the previously quality Eybl stores into more discount-oriented outlets. A couple of brands told us that their business relations with the retailer came to a halt almost literally from one day to the next, whereas it used to be their largest customer in the country.
In some cases, the suppliers severed relations at their own request, while some others have apparently been ousted by SDI. The vendors are facing two issues: They do not know how to compensate for the loss of this large account; and Eybl still has some of their merchandise in stock, which may well be put on the market at very aggressive prices.