Cheers, Pyeongchang!

Winter sportswear companies benefit from Olympic boom

Pyeongchang 2018 – Skilanglauf
That could be me, if only I had the right outfit. Source: DPA

The thermometer tells temperatures but it can also predict sales of winter sports gear. When temperatures fall below freezing, people rush to the stores to buy up ski boots, skates and bobsleds. Warm weather, on the other hand, is bad news for store owners, who aren’t much consoled by springtime.

“It’s a volatile and challenging segment,” according to Hannes Rumer, boss of Intersport, Germany’s largest sports retail chain. Times are good right now as the media is dominated by the Winter Olympics. Images of events like the biathlon, cross-country skiing, bobsled and figure skating give retailers of winter sports gear a much-needed boost.

But otherwise it’s uphill all the way. Five years ago, winter items made up 36 percent of sales at Intersport but that’s fallen to 31 percent, and driven countless brands and retailers from the market. Further problems are the fickleness of the weather, the limited appeal of winter sports generally – and a growing shift towards renting skis and other gear instead of buying it.

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