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FIFA World Cup Brazil | Weak replica sales | But some sold well
July 2014

Weak World Cup

replica interest

Replicas of the shirts worn by teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil are not high on South African shopping lists. But, selected team shirts have been selling for some local retailers, reports YAMKELA MKEBE

As the host country and one of the favourites to go far in the tournament, Brazil shirts were among the most popular replicas in South African retailers in the run up to the current FIFA World Cup. The substantial German and Portuguese communities in South Africa ensured that replicas of these shirts were also in demand.

All three these teams are in FIFA’s top five rankings, and the expectation is therefore that they would progress to the final stages of the tournament. Brazil, ranked #4, and Portugal ranked #3, are both sponsored by Nike.

Brazil, England, France, Portugal and the Netherlands were the most popular and best-selling for Nike in the build-up to the tournament, says Seruscka Naidoo of Nike SA. “Since South Africa is not in the tournament, we have decided to support our adopted-countries.”

Germany, ranked #2, is an adidas team, as well as top-ranked Spain. Worn by the ever-popular Lionel Messi, star of their World Cup advert, their Argentinian shirts were also popular before the start of the World Cup, says Gugu Ntuli of adidas. Nigeria also has a dedicated group of local supporters, she says.

Ten teams played in Nike shirts, while nine teams played in adidas and eight in Puma.

The African continent is represented by Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the World Cup. Except for Nigeria (adidas), these African teams are sponsored by Puma.

Puma supplied replica shirts from all eight of their teams to retailers. Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana have been their best-sellers due to the huge support of other African countries in South Africa.

“There is a strong fan base following African countries in South Africa,” says Collin Allin of Puma. “The fan base is so strong that we manufacture Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana kit locally to keep up with the demand. The three countries have a strong history and heritage when it comes to international competitions.”

But, with the World Cup played so far away, matches in the middle of the night, and without any national team interest, retailers did not have very high expectations of the replica shirt sales, a Sports Trader snap survey showed. Shortly before the start of the World Cup, we asked local retailers if they were stocking replica shirts, and which shirts were the most popular.

More than two-thirds of the respondents (68%) said that they were not stocking team shirts for the current World Cup in Brazil, although more than half (54%) usually do stock soccer replica shirts. Eighteen percent of the respondents usually only stock replica for special events.

Several of the respondents said that they did not stock replica shirts this time because the World Cup was held in a foreign country and South Africa was not participating. Other reasons they gave for not stocking World Cup team shirts were that they found it difficult to get the stock they wanted and “suppliers are not supplying stock”.

One respondent says he does not want to stock soccer replica at all, because “you always lose money with replicas for local or foreign clubs.”

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