The Polish sport and outdoor trade show held in Kielce in late February, Sport-Winter, proved to be a successful platform for meetings between Polish manufacturers, distributors and representatives of foreign brands. This year’s show hosted almost 210 sport and outdoor companies.

One of the exhibition halls was devoted exclusively to outdoor brands. Among the 90-odd companies in the hall, those with the biggest stands included Euromark Polska (Alpinus and Campus) and Hannah Polska, followed by slightly smaller stands by Kanion (including Lafuma and Millet), Konimpex Plus (including Feel Free, Regatta) and Ravenoutdoor (including Marmot and Black Diamond). A large amount of the space was also occupied by ski equipment firms such as PM Sport (Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange) and Amer Sports Poland (Salomon, Suunto). However, some major outdoor companies were not present at the fair, such as Bergson, FAM (Fjord Nansen, Jack Wolfskin) and The North Face.

The issue of currency exchange rates dominated business discussions. Volatile exchange rates and consequent pricing changes are a significant drawback for many customers and resulted in a cautious approach to new products. Nevertheless, distributors are making efforts to keep prices steady, while some of the most experienced players have even decided to decrease prices.

However, despite the economic uncertainty and the high currency rates, the mood in the market continues to be optimistic, as Polish manufacturers and distributors are realizing the growing potential of the sports segment. In particular, companies offering climbing gear, ski touring and free-ride ski equipment are attracting strong attention.

For many exhibitors, the Kielce show was an efficient way to present their collections to the biggest number of outdoor and sports retailers. Most exhibitors noticed an increase in the number of visitors, although the frequency of visits was uneven and often depended on pre-fair agreements with the organisers.

For some companies, mainly in the outdoor segment, the four-day duration was too long - many exhibitors started dismantling their stands on the final day. Ski companies, however, said the full four days were necessary.

In news from the Polish market, Alpine Pro Polska has been reactivated, Regatta’s presence in Poland has been strengthened and MM Sport (distributor of Keen) has introduced the American brand Under Armour. Moreover Ravenoutdoor has broadened its offer from SmartWool, Timberland’s Merino brand to Yeti, the German sleeping bag brand, and its Danish parent, Nordisk.