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August 2006

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Secret of Sportoria’s success

  • All the store staff have specialist knowledge of the sport, which they can employ to sell products more effectively.

  • The management have good experience of the retail trade.

  • They attract buyers by offering a full product range in a specific sport. Because it is a destinational store, the customers are all potential buyers.

  • The stores are easy to locate, because they are located at sports stadiums well-known to all sporting customers.

  • They offer product knowledge sessions to coaches of sport clubs and schools and thus build a strong relationship with these customers who buy on large scale.

  • The stores have a well-defined sourcing strategy, with suppliers listed in order of preference according to price, rebate offered and delivery.

  • Sportoria: The specialist store that’s an icon

    It will indeed be very rare to find a Pretoria rugby-lover who does not know the Sportoria rugby specialist store. Ideally located at Loftus Versfeld, it is in the heart of Blue Bulls country – a beacon for every rugby lover, yet a destination that will attract buyers rather than browsers

    The Sportoria-Blue Bulls bond is strong. Not only because they sell the full range of Blue Bulls clothing and memorabilia – from newborn to ladies and men’s XXXXL – but they used to be partners.

    The Sportoria history, however, starts much earlier – nearly twenty years ago.

    In 1987, Otto Maree, father of the current MD Hugo Maree, opened a sport store in Pretoria North. It was a general sport store catering for all sports, where Maree’s current partner, Martin Ferreira, used to work during school holidays.

    After finishing school, Ferreira joined TotalSports, but in 1994 Hugo Maree made him a share offer he could not refuse and he joined Sportoria.

    Ferreira was responsible for the school’s market, which he entered with gusto, soon employing a successful agents’ network supplying everything that school teams could need. Today that part of the business is run as a separate company, Xco.

    They also had a small clothing factory that made teamwear and tracksuits. When rugby league was introduced to SA in 1998, Sportoria was approached to supply the more colourful sublimated jerseys. Sure, why not? they said and went into partnership with Nike to develop a range of sublimated rugby jerseys.

    The following year they entered into a partnership with then Northern Transvaal rugby: Sportoria would take over the running of their store at Loftus in exchange for the rugby union obtaining shares in the company (Sportoria has since bought back all the shares).

    Because the rugby specialist store was so successful, they decided to transform the Pretoria North store into a sportswear and silk-screening factory.

    Their trading formula proved to be so successful, that they have since added a cricket specialist store, Cricket Direct, at Centurion. Last year, Sportoria also set up shop online.

    The reason why their formula has worked so well is because they specialise in a particular sport and offer the full ranges of all brands in that particular sport, explains Ferreira. They therefore offer something that sets them apart from chain stores: much wider product ranges in the specific sports than what a chain or mall store can carry.

    "We can also offer a specialists service, because we all know the game, the needs of players and the correct product to offer them. We have weekly meetings and training sessions. We also believe we offer top service in sport."

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