In praise of Sports Direct - the brand that doesn't care what the media think


By Andy Barr | Head Yeti

July 19, 2013 | 4 min read

Now, media commentators like myself can sneer at the fact that chav-brand Sports Direct has delivered the kind of results that get you on the front page of the Financial Times, but the bottom line is that they have nailed it.

Andy Barr is impressed by Sports Direct

For many years I withstood the media pressure to venture into Sports Direct because the clothes piled around the entrance, the far too lively music and staff that looked part advisers part security kinda scared me off.

However, one day I forgot my PE kit for work (we play basketball every week at work – no really) and thought the time was right to get over my phobia and dive in.

You know what, I ruddy loved it. As a kid from a council estate brought up by a family of Scousers, Sports Direct was heaven. Yes, 99 per cent of the clothing was made of the kind of material that is one static shock from burning the whole shop down - BUT it had everything I could have needed and at bargain prices.

I got a full PE kit of shorts, socks, top and Nike trainers for under £35. And this is when I got it.

Sports Direct knows what its customers want. They pile it high, they sell it low and they don’t give a crap what idiot media commentators say.

I think everyone in the media got it this week. They saw that Sports Direct had gone in at 300p when they floated, dropped to 62p after some initial troubles and was at 600p yesterday.

You don’t turn things round like this unless you have a solid base. Its staff shares scheme is credited with being the biggest driver behind their success, but for me it is the fact they have ignored all the sideways sniping from the press and just concentrated on what they do best.

As a brand, they don’t really court the press in terms of big ticket stunts and campaigns, but I wonder if this will now change. They have everyone eating out of the palm of their hand and now would be the time to kick on and harness this love.

Sports Direct, I salute you.

Meanwhile, as the UK media obsesses over the firing out of the royal baby, the UK economy has been slowly and surely popping out positive messages of its own.

Savilles, of fricking expensive houses fame, revised its house price value index for the rest of the year upwards. The HS2 project revealed that it was creating 2000 engineering apprenticeship jobs and mortgage lending also went up for June.

Mothercare thought it needed to bring the retail market back down to earth though, and was quick to point out that the much-heralded retail boom that is expected from the birth of the royal baby is unlikely to materialise.

Love Sports Direct and want to berate me for getting it wrong? Come at me bro… I am @10Yetis on Twitter.


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