Small sports stores under pressure with Bol.com adding sports clothing

Small sports stores under pressure with Bol.com adding sports clothing

A month after Dutch e-tailer Bol.com added sports products, it will now also sell sports clothing. As ever more webshops enter this profitable branch, smaller physical stores fear their time has run out.

Wehkamp and Coolblue

Major sports brands like Adidas, Nike, Asics, Hi-Tec, Salomon, Brunotti and Craft are now available on Bol.com, both in Belgium and the Netherlands. Its new Sports & Leisure category launches with over 22,000 pairs of shoes and 28,000 pieces of clothing for both children and adults.

 

Bol.com is not the first internet department store in the Low Countries to sell these items: Wehkamp.nl started it several years ago and even struck a strategic alliance with Telstar Sports & Fashion in September 2013. That added large brands like Nike, Adidas and Asics to its 3,000-strong product range.

 

Their competitor Coolblue, although starting out as a consumer electronics webshop, has also moved into the sports product branch. It opened the Tennisracketstore in May 2013, after it had already launched stores for heart rate monitors, sports glasses and sports watches. 32 of the 166 different Coolblue stores now focus on sports and outdoor products, which includes clothing and shoes for runners and a web shop for thermal clothing and football shoes.

 

Small sports stores under pressure

Traditional and mostly smaller sports stores will definitely feel the pressure now that the three largest Dutch internet players have moved into the lucrative sports equipment branch. The arrival of large international players, like French Decathlon and British SportsDirect, already brought in increased competition and this will not become any easier with the internet parties. SportsDirect's CEO, Mike Ashley, had already asked European sports stores in August to collaborate with him or "get smashed".

 

Bol.com, Wehkamp and Coolblue continue to increase their market share through additional product branches and that is why they have become part of the 5 largest Dutch online retailers. Ahold (Bol.com's owner) has a 686.4 million euro online turnover, while RFS Holland Holding (Wehkamp, Fonq) reached 552 million euro. Number three is Germany's Zalando (304 million euro) and Coolblue is fourth with 213.5 million euro, up from a spot from last year.

 

The top 100 of Dutch web shops reached a total turnover of 5.24 billion euro, 50.5 % of which came from the top 10. The year before, 49.4 % came from the top 10, which goes to show that the largest parties only become bigger.

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