30 seconds on the business of… sports retail

Gulf Business speaks to Shivam Goyal, business head, SportsOne

How big is sports retail in the GCC?

The sports retail industry in the GCC is quite big and is poised for more growth.

Although there is no authentic data on the size of the sporting goods industry in the GCC, based on own internal research at Landmark Group, we assess it to be around $8bn. Out of that, almost 35 per cent is still generated by unorganised segments.

Most of the growth is poised to come from Saudi Arabia as satellite towns are developing in a big way and joining the mainstream retail revolution taking place in the kingdom. Also, with the impact of 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar gradually setting in, the sporting goods industry is heading for some very interesting times ahead.

Are there many local and international vendors in the market?

There are home-grown as well as international vendors in the region and we expect more international retailers to enter the regional markets and tap into their potential. Sports apparel and equipment retail definitely has more scope for growth with the increasing importance on health and fitness.

What are the main challenges facing the industry?

The total retail costs have increased due to a rise in rental prices, staff recruitment and aggressive competition from local, regional and international players. This makes it a challenge for all retailers to maintain profitability and fuel sustainable growth.

What are the best selling products regionally?

Training apparel, football fan jerseys and running footwear for men are hot sellers. Lifestyle sportswear performs very well for women and kids.

How do you see the sector moving over the next few years?

Large young populations, high disposable income, political and social stability, strong economic performance, the emergence of the region as a global tourist destination and a host of global sports events and growing awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle – all these factors will give a strong push to sports retail.