Sports And Outdoor Trade Suppliers
Get Listed Today >>>

Posted by: Sportslink on 07/26/2017

Rebel: cherrypicker strategy for stronger brand

Rebel: cherrypicker strategy for stronger brand

The merging of Amart Sports into the Rebel chain is a strategy designed to make the sports division of Super Retail Group stronger, ‘matchfit and ready to rumble.’

So says Erica Berchtold (pictured), managing director of the sports division, who emphasised that all Amart stores and their teams are to be rebranded Rebel.

She was speaking to Sportslink’s Editor Maggie Coleman.

“The best elements of both brands will be cherry-picked for a stronger one-brand strategy and I am convinced it is the right thing to do now.“

The two brands will become one by the end of October this year, and this is because Rebel and Amart “are the closest during November and December – the build-up to Christmas – with many similar products and prices.”

The merger will also have the benefit of reducing two marketing plans and expensive campaigns for the festive season and New Year sales to one, says Berchtold.

She broke the news in a presentation to the Rebel and Amart management and store teams on the first day of the current conference, being held this week at the Sunshine Coast’s Twin Waters resort, and told them that 65 percent of the sports division’s profits come from the same items and categories in both brands.

Berchtold told Sportslink there is great value in Amart, “still a great and profitable business and it is critical to hold onto the value, community appeal and customer service of Amart.”

Rebel will have to make changes in strategies, she says, but it may be that the brand does better in its apparel and footwear programmes, so the plan is to cherrypick the best from both brands and build Rebel into a “matchfit and ready-to-rumble business, ready to compete with the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s sports retail.”

“Yes, we will be continually tweaking – this is part of being a good retailer,” she says, having been convinced of the rightness of the one brand strategy during recent months when stepping back slightly from the day-to-day to complete the senior executive programme at the London Business School.

“We have never been a conservative, shrinking violet sort of a business. We won’t play by anyone else’s rules.

It is a bold move to take a business that is making money and make such major changes but it is part of keeping Amart jobs and stores as Rebel for the long term and giving all our consumers a fabulous experience.

Says Berchtold, “Rebel is the number one sports retailer in Australia, we have the home-grown advantage against newcomers and we are not giving that up – this is our strategy for the future, not an Amazon strategy.”

She reports that major “trade partners are so supportive, all being focussed on giving our customers the best possible products and customer service across the 160 stores,” reflecting that stores will vary across the nation – the store in Bondi Junction will differ from the store in Rockhampton.

What about the reaction from smaller, more specialised brands? “We will dial-up our presence online and consider offering brands we may not include in store.

“Rebel has been changing its strategy over the past 12 months, to dial-up its value message with new categories and brands – we are a nimble, flexible business and are still working through the many questions and answers with our amazing, engaged, talented teams.”

Berchtold confirmed that the one brand strategy does not include eight Rebelfit stores – recently rebranded from Workout World with upgraded product ranges, and trading well.

• Chief Executive and Group Managing Director of Super Retail Group Peter Birtles has been quoted as saying that the strategy of building to 200 stores across the country has not changed and “coming together under one single brand will enable our sports division to further accelerate the shift it has made in recent years towards a concentrated focus on delivering the solutions and services that customers today need and want in order to live their sporting passions.”

“The conversion is expected to deliver gross margin uplift arising from range optimisation and reduction of underperforming categories and synergy benefits in marketing and administration,” says the ASX announcement.