The rumour has remained unconfirmed by top managers both of Globetrotter Ausrüstung, the huge specialty outdoor retailer from Hamburg, and Euro Family, the informal alliance of some of Europe's most important retailers in the sector. Will Globetrotter leave the family?

Both Andreas Bartmann, managing partner of Globetrotter, and Christoph Schmid of Sport Förg, who is involved in the coordination of the Euro Family, declined to provide any comment before Ispo. Both said, however, that we should wait for an official release distributed next week. One top manager of another member of the alliance, whose name we are not going to mention here, told us that Globetrotter is going to quit the pan-European cooperation.

Euro Family's job is mainly to decide about joint purchasing of special make-ups from the suppliers, as well as the coordination of the group's exclusive brands, Meru and Kaikkialla. The structure of the group is, however, characterized by the diverging concepts of its members. The family encompasses traditional specialty outdoor retailers such as the Swiss Transa and Globetrotter as well as more general sports retailers like Breuninger, Förg and Engelhorn of Germany, Sportler of Italy and Gigasport of Austria.

Sources among the retailers' suppliers told this publication that they think Globetrotter has become too big a customer of the exclusive brands and special make-ups. In some categories Globetrotter apparently accounts for up to 50 percent of the entire volume, so that the Hamburg-based retailer could organize the purchase of such products on its own. Subscribers to the Compass will be kept informed about the developments in the Euro Family in the next issues.