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The Chairman’s Thoughts
THE CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR THE NEW ZEALAND SPORTS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION 2012 YEAR.
The 2011/2012 year can be summed up very easily, “one of confusion”.
This time last year, we were in the euphoria of the Rugby World Cup win and this led to great excitement in New Zealand. This excitement, unfortunately, did not really flow over to a massive increase in demand for sporting goods. In many of our sporting sectors we have seen a large decrease in import figures for this year.
In the UK, even with the excitement of the Olympic Games, we saw the demise of the JJB sports group, with job losses topping 3,500 and over 160 shop closures. It is interesting to note that 20 of their shops that were sold were purchased by “Sports Direct”, which in itself tells a story.
The Olympic Games also highlighted where spectator sport really is going. Even in a small country like New Zealand we had a 5 channel option so that we could view any of the major events, in the comfort of our own surrounds. This was even taken to higher levels in the host country where all events were available on demand, at home, live.
New Zealander’s can not really complain about the Olympics. New Zealand’s results were fantastic and driven by some very well disciplined sports and their respective management structures.
In the more individual sports that really drive the commercial side of our industry we fell short. Here we have to ask why? Is it our approach, structure, ability, funding, or do we just lack the personal drive to do it on our own? Regarding this question, I personally believe Sport New Zealand, needs to better understand the inter-relationship between Primary schools and Clubs and then the loss of this structure once the students move into Secondary school and fall under the direction of the Secondary School Sports Association. Our young athletes, in many cases, then become lost to sport as they pass through their later school education.
It is here, and the Take a Kid Fishing initiative that we are trying to get through the Government barriers that we need to maintain our work and also look for additional projects in an effort to keep New Zealander’s active in the Sports Arena. Of course we have a vested interest, but we, as a group, are a critical part of New Zealand’s sporting culture.
Our parent, the New Zealand Retailers Association, continues on our behalf, the fight with the Government on many issues that continue to plague our Industry. We would like to thank John and his team, for the lengthy and frustrating job, in continuing the fight with the De Minimis and to get a real “level playing field” for us all to operate in.
On this subject and after some fairly extensive research, I find many confusing statistics on the percentage of total retail sales that are currently done over the internet. We should start a new campaign in this area, and by eliminating many of the large ticket items that are not sold through our industry, we can get a far more accurate percentage of actual Internet sales, for not only sporting goods, but retail shop sales.
We have just seen the downfall of the Shanton fashion chain and the question was asked, “Did on-line retail do this?” The media quoted that our online figures were only 2%, compared to other countries which are up to 6 to 10%. This figure of 2% should be challenged, as I believe it is a lot higher and if so, needs to be broadcast.
We as a group have a tough job, to try and keep direction, in a fight for our members and their rights, under the Fair Trading Act. It is here that I must thank, not only the committee, for all their work, emails and input, which is purely voluntary. Your work and efforts, is greatly appreciated. Where would be without Pat! Pat is fantastic and an inspiration to all.
The professional crew, Russell and Kathleen, under the New Zealand Retailers Association, a big thank you, even though many us, due to our own pressures have not had the time to assist. Your roles at times, I am sure are frustrating and complicated, by the willing volunteer. Your work, on our behalf is appreciated.