Intersport to unite image

INTERSPORT, the group of 400 independent sports retailers, is planning a major shake-up of its operations to fight back against the major chains, such as JJB Sports and the supermarkets.

The buying and merchandising group, created to give the independent sports shops more power, will insist in future that full members operate under the Intersport banner and adhere to uniform store designs, staff training and product selection.

Currently many members continue to trade under their independent fascia which Intersport says weakens the awareness of the name and diminishes marketing efficiencies.

Members will have until September to decide whether they wish to be full corporate members or simply be buying members, which would not entitle them to use the Intersport name.

The group said the changes "will allow Intersport to focus marketing resources to support the brand and will allow Intersport to compete more effectively in the market place as a national retailer with a strong high street presence."

The changes have already been approved by the group's members, with 92 per cent voting in favour. Intersport says the changes will mean 220 stores trading under the Intersport name by 2000.

The changes are in response to the increasing power of the major sports shop chains, and to fight the major supermarket groups which are sourcing branded sports clothing from the grey market.