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SBD Global/December 13, 2013/Finance

Sports Direct In Kit Battle With Adidas, Which Won't Supply Next Year's Chelsea Kit

U.K. retailer Sports Direct has become embroiled in "a spat with adidas over Chelsea's football kit" which has factored into shares falling 8% in Thursday morning trading, according to Robinson & Powley of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Sports Direct revealed that adidas "will not provide it with next season's Chelsea kit." Sports Direct's management said that adidas' decision was "impossible to understand." Founder Mike Ashley and other management said that it "will fight" adidas' decision, using its position as the U.K.'s largest sports retailer "as a bargaining chip." Forsey: "We have not taken it well, from Mike's perspective." Sports Direct had enjoyed strong growth in the first part of the year, but that has slowed throughout its third quarter as the company "cut prices to match rivals' offers." Sports Direct CEO Dave Forsey said, "The overperformance hasn't continued. There is wider retail promotion [than last year]" (FT, 12/12). REUTERS' Neil Maidment reported adidas signed a 10-year shirt deal worth a reported £300M ($491M) with Chelsea in June. Adidas said on Thursday that it "regularly reviewed where its products are distributed based on criteria such as in-store environment and customer service." Adidas said that its customers "could still buy a range of adidas products at Sports Direct stores." Sports Direct "will still sell other Chelsea supporter wear." Chelsea "could not be reached for comment" (REUTERS, 12/12).
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