SBD/December 29, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Packers Merchandise Becoming Scarce Amid Team's Popularity, Switch To Nike Jerseys

Retailers are having trouble keeping Packers jerseys in stock
The NFL’s decision to change suppliers from Reebok to Nike, combined with the Packers’ “nationwide popularity, is depleting inventories of merchandise, especially jerseys,” according to Richard Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Packers Dir of Retail Operations Kate Hogan said, “All of us that sell Packers merchandise are experiencing the same challenges. We bought heavy going in and we bought a lot of jerseys. We are not going to be able to sustain it much longer.” Ryman notes Reebok’s 10-year contract to supply NFL apparel is ending and Nike and several other new vendors “will take over” in April. Retailers said that as a result, Reebok “ordered conservatively going into the season.” The most popular teams will experience “the worst shortages, and the Packers are breaking all sorts of popularity records this year, from on-field performance to stock sales to merchandise sales.” Green Bay-based The Jersey Store Manager Mike Walters said that his shop is “buying what it can find and contracting for some exclusive custom pieces, though they will miss the sales they could have offered, particularly of sweatshirts and jackets.” Hogan said that “adult jerseys, Sideline gear and some other goods cannot be restocked.” Women’s apparel, long-sleeve T-shirts and “certain colors, such as gold, are also in short supply, but children’s jerseys are plentiful.” Playoff apparel “will be available as always because it is not made until needed.” NFL Corporate Communications Coordinator Joanna Hunter in an e-mail wrote, “We are not concerned. NFLShop.com can supplement other retailers’ offerings so fans can get the gear they are seeking.” Hogan said that the Internet is “boosting Packers’ merchandise sales nationwide.” Wisconsin residents “continue to purchase the most items from the Packers Pro Shop, but buyers come from all 50 states as well as several countries” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/29).

UNHAPPY CAMPERS: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted some fans who purchased shares of Packers stock “have complained that the stock certificates either didn't arrive at all, didn't arrive on time, or were damaged in some way.” Packers Assistant Dir of PR & Corporate Communications Aaron Popkey estimated that “less than one-half percent of orders had problems,” which would be “roughly in the neighborhood of 1,100 orders.” Popkey acknowledged that there were “some problems, but said the team and its partners, including Wells Fargo, which handles the Packers' shareholders services, were committed to fixing the problems” (JSONLINE.com, 12/28).
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