SBD/December 1, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHL Merchandise Sales Experience Boost Behind Retro-Inspired Designs

Retro-inspired graphics are connecting best with customers
NHL merchandise sales for the past three years "have experienced double-digit growth, including a 15 percent jump last season ... and 15 percent again so far this year," according to Jean Palmieri of WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY. Reebok Sports Licensed Division Dir of NHL Merchandise Keith Leach said that five years ago, the business "was 'dominated by jerseys,' which probably accounted for 75 percent of all sales." Today the business "has 'matured,' and jerseys are now 50 percent of the mix, with lifestyle apparel and footwear the remainder." Leach said that the looks that are "connecting with customers are the better quality, retro-inspired graphics and 'washed-out garments.'" NHL Group VP/Consumer Products Licensing James Haskins said that the "sales on Black Friday were 41 percent above last year while sales for the entire weekend rose 48 percent." In addition, the NHL and Reebok earlier this year "formed a partnership with Champs Sports to install in-store shops in locations in the U.S. and Canada." The NHL said that within two weeks of installation, Champs "reported a 300 percent increase in sales in the U.S and 40 percent in Canada." Haskins said that the product "is essentially sold out." Palmieri noted the league "has had success online as well, with sales at up 21 percent from last year, led by the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins championship and Hockey Fights Cancer merchandise" (, 11/30).
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