I can't understand how SportsDirect makes money. Its shops are full of the most awful tat, and I feel dirty just going in there on the off chance that they have some esoteric outdoor kit they don't understand, and are selling at silly prices (it happens...). They're dark, dirty, and over-filled with rack upon rack of awful rags and shoddy 'sports gear'.
Compare F&T before and after Ashley took it over. Think what a shadow it is of its previous self. Now try to imagine the same degree of dumbing-down in Millets. If you think Millets is bad now...
I suppose it's good news for the independents...
There is less dumbing down for millets to reach SD levels, more for blacks but still no need for them to drop their standards that far to reach F&T or SD levels IMHO. There are two near me. Kendal and Ambleside. I don't like Aside one but the Kendal one has the outdoors stuff upstairs and separate from all the usual SD tat. It does have some good stuff in among the crap. They sometime sell jetboils cheap if that is your thing (not mine) and also GPS and outdoor watched cheaper than other places.
I guess the choice is no blacks, no millets or SD taking the chain over and the stores stay open selling some outdoor stuff. I mean Blacks and Millets can be the only outdoor gear retailers on high streets in some places. If noone buys the blacks/millets chain then perhaps they will no longer have places to buy anything outdoors related. Perhaps you'll see more people wearing street clothing in the hills and wrangler boots from some outlet place?? At least as bad as Karrimor stuff is compared with their old, pre-SD days they are still suitable for the outdoors. I am thinking of their boots and their waterproofs and fleeces. They might not be the best gear but they are a hell of a lot better than towny clothes in the hills. Of course there is the internet but how do you know what is right if you haven't even seen outdoors kit?? IMO you need some knowledge of kit to buy online well.
Millets has become a place I do bother to go to since we adopted a couple of kids. They have a better selection than most of kids' stuff and if they're going to grow out of it in 6 months there's no point spending a fortune.
My local Millets died a while back due to an end of lease, plus the fact that it was full of tat and basically empty of customers. SD tried to buy Blacks a couple of years ago, which meant that the Blacks Management spent a lot of their time fighting off SD rather than looking after their business. TNF came in as a white knight, and now owns 5% of the group.
Millets would basically go if SD did take over - the brand is fairly low rent, with low margins. On the other hand, its just the sort of place you could put loads of cheap Karrimor stuff, getting it out of the main SD stores.
The interesting thing is wondering why SD would look to expand their estate on the High Street, when they already have loads of stores in same areas (my ocal SD and Blacks are about 100 yards apart) and the High Street is looking pretty sick at the moment.Who wants to take on more expensive leases at this time?
It will be intetesting to see how Berghaus and TNF would feel about a sale to SD. Yes, they both supply F & T, but thats a 'proper' shop. Neither brand is going to be happy if its kit is dumped next to Karrimor, Campri and the rest of the SD stable. And since TNF owns 5% of the company, they have a say in what happens.
I feel sorry for the staff - the good ones are suffering for the continuing failings of Blacks management, and if Blacks does fall, there will be evenmore empty shops on the high street.
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