The first New Zealand Adidas flaghip is hot on the heels of Nike opening its online store to Kiwi shoppers, and momentarily preceding the arrival of Stirling Women’s second outlet in Ponsonby. We wondered, why are all these internationals arriving at once?
The Adidas store opens tomorrow at 60 Galway St, Britomart. It aligns with the company’s ‘Neighbourhood’ concept, which is intended to “connect each city’s unique neighbourhood” and encourage creativity.
Steve Woolley, Adidas Pacific retail director says:
“The Neighbourhood concept has launched in Paris, Shanghai, London and New York and I am proud to announce the opening of New Zealand’s’ very first, in Britomart. The Neighbourhood concept provides a brand experience like no other. With plans to further expand the concept into 2017, Adidas is committed to bringing the Originals experience to New Zealand.”
Stirling Women, a sports-luxe sister brand to Stirling Sports, launched in New Zealand earlier this year. Its first store opened in Auckland’s Sylvia Park mall, stocking Adidas and other international labels.
Its second outlet is due to open on Ponsonby Rd on July 1.
First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson says activewear remains on a strong growth pattern, tying it to “the Lululemon effect”. The high-end women’s activewear label entered New Zealand in 2011 and is widely credited with popularising the trend.
Wilkinson believes Lululemon has piqued consumers’ interest, sending them in search of “the next step” in branded activewear. For some consumers, this means Lorna Jane, available through Stirling Women, while others are tempted by the more fashion-forward lines released through Nike and Adidas.
More consumers are wearing activewear in the street and it’s become part of many peoples’ ‘fashion wardrobe’ rather than sportswear, Wilkinson says. While these international brands have chosen to concentrate on Auckland, he says the trend is nationwide.
Having recently spent time in New Zealand’s provinces, Wilkinson says small independent sports shops are now surviving by selling more sportswear and activewear than equipment like rugby balls and cricket bats.
Wilkinson says large retail brands like Nike are increasingly “geofencing” their product by restricting its supply through retailers and online stores. In explanation, he shared the story of Dune shoes in New Zealand. Dune, a UK brand, was originally available in New Zealand through Asos, but when the label secured distribution through high-end menswear retailer 3 Wise Men, it made sure Kiwi buyers could no longer purchase the shoe through Asos. The new channel was more in keeping with the brand’s aspirations, although it still used Asos to reach buyers in other markets.
It’s unlikely that Adidas and Stirling will make any money out of their Kiwi flagship stores, Wilkinson says. He believes that for large retailers like these, flagship stores are part of the marketing budget – the real sales are made through other sites. Perhaps there’s a place for those independent sports retailers after all.