Friday, 12 October 2007
Taking the Shirt off your back.
According to a report on the BBC website manufacturers of replica football shirts have been taking steps to discourage supermarkets from stocking their products.
The report detailed a criteria imposed by Nike on retailers who want to stock their product.
Apparently this is similar to stipulations made by other manufacturers who include Umbro, Adidas and Reebok, who between them produce the kit for 15 of the 20 English Premier League clubs.
Nike's 12-point document, provide that Nike has the right to approve fixtures and fittings and to have its products displayed in areas "which are distinctly separate and differentiated from fixtures displaying different types of products".
The retailer also has to appoint "a sufficient number of staff with knowledge of the relevant Nike product to service the consumer in a professional manner".
One can imagine that the training manual for these knowledgeable staff would advise as to the seamless inclusion into a conversation of stock phrases like;
“Naturally Sir, one does need to buy a replica of the fourth choice (League Cup) away kit.”
“The high tech nylon material certainly compliments Sir’s robust frame”
“You should really listen to your children Madam, I know that the only difference between this and last years kit is two inches of gold braiding but to deny them this purchase is tantamount to mentally cruelty”
“ So that’s one replica Manchester United shirt, that will be £39.99, please could you make your cheque payable to ‘Penzance Sporting Supplies’
Of course the whole thing is really about price fixing, a view that was taken by the OFT when they investigated the issue in 2003. The investigation resulted in fines for a number of companies - including JJB Sports, JD Sports and Sports Soccer and ), Umbro, for price fixing. However recent studies indicate that many approved retailers are still charging £40.00 for an adult replica shirt and that the outlets still remain limited in number.
And this doesn’t even touch on the morality of supply chain issues.
Perhaps if everyone, so minded to do so, just bought directly from their club’s shop (most have mail order facilities – CWU permitting) or bought last years kit when it become a clearance item (at a considerable discount) the drop in sales on the high street might concentrate a few minds.
You know it makes sense - Just Do It……