Ospreys Merchandise Sales Continue To Soar To

Ospreys bosses have revealed that the region is once again on course for a record breaking year off the pitch, after confirming that merchandise sales at the Liberty Stadium Superstore have smashed through the £1 million barrier for a second year...


Ospreys bosses have revealed that the region is once again on course for a record breaking year off the pitch, after confirming that merchandise sales at the Liberty Stadium Superstore have smashed through the £1 million barrier for a second successive season.

Having become the first Welsh rugby region to reach the landmark figure last season, sales this time around have continued to increase despite the challenging economic climate which is troubling retailers right across the UK.

With the Ospreys continuing to set the pace in Welsh rugby on the field, challenging for the Magners League title and through to the knockout stages of both cup competitions, it is a similar story off the pitch as the tills at the Liberty Stadium ring up sales at an unprecedented rate. Having become the first region to reach the £1million sales mark last season, passing the figure in early April, the latest figures revealed today show that sales have soared past the million pound mark more than two months earlier this time around, reaching the magic figure before January was out.

Sales of Ospreys merchandise for the season up to January 31st totalled £1,017, 802, an increase of £147,482 on the same time last year. With the Ospreys continuing to go from strength to strength as a business, the initial sales target of £1.2million for the 2008/09 season looks set to be smashed in the coming months, with chiefs at the region now predicting sales of £1.35million, a rise of 24 per cent on last season's final total of £1.09million.

By comparison, the total value of merchandise sold during the Ospreys first ever season, 2003/04, was just £90,000.

Roger Blyth, Ospreys Managing Director, said:

"To be able to confirm that we have generated such an incredible level of merchandise sales through the Liberty Stadium Superstore alone, passing the £1million mark before the end of January is little short of phenomenal, particularly given the difficult economic conditions which are making life difficult for many retailers. We were delighted to be able to confirm last season that we had achieved sales of more than £1million for the very first time, and when you consider this season we have reached that point more than two months earlier, you can begin to realise what an exceptional performance this is.

"The Ospreys brand is continuing to grow at an incredible rate, and we are extremely grateful to our supporters who seem to have an unquenchable desire for Ospreys merchandise. We really do appreciate how they continue to display their loyalty to us in this way at a time when consumer confidence is generally very low, allowing us to buck the trend in the retail world by exceeding all our sales targets. As a business we have put a huge emphasis on community when it comes to brand development, we want the public to really consider themselves part of the Ospreys, and this mindset has clearly had a positive impact on merchandise sales.

"When you consider that we still have our biggest games of the season to come, in the shape of the EDF Energy Cup semi-final against Gloucester in Coventry, and the Heineken Cup quarter-final away to Munster, with further cup games to follow depending on us winning those ties, then it is clear that the figure will continue to rise. If we hit our revised target for the season of £1.35million, that will represent a year-on-year rise of almost a third."

With the Ospreys shirt currently the second biggest seller in northern hemisphere club and regional rugby, it is no surprise that sales of replica jerseys lead the way, accounting for £479, 159 of the end of January total, with 10,200 shirts sold in store, just 137 less than the total figure for the whole of 2007/08. Leisurewear sales totalled £285,803, gifts accounted for a further £109,174 and more than £50,000 came via hats, caps and scarves. Ladieswear sales reached £30,842, whilst parents across Ospreylia have kitted out their children in more than £5,000 worth of baby wear.

Roger Blyth continued:

"We've come a long, long way since 2003, both as a rugby team and as a business, changing beyond recognition from the fledgling organisation that survived hand-to-mouth in our early days into a self sufficient business that continues to exceed all expectations off the pitch whilst setting the standards for Welsh rugby on it.

"It has always been our aim to establish ourselves as one of European rugby's elite organisations, both commercially and in terms of playing success, and we have in place a solid business plan that we believe will allow us to achieve this aim. At the heart of this strategy is a commercial operation that will generate the revenue to allow us to invest at all levels, making us stronger from top to bottom.

"We have now exceeded the £1 million sales level for two consecutive seasons and the goal now is to not only ensure that we continue to do this, but to take it to another level again. Merchandise sales have already exceeded expectations for the season, and we have revised our target upwards to £1.35million, a figure that we remain confident of achieving given that we have a third of the season still remaining. The task then is to ensure continued growth, season by season, enabling us to continue the strides that we have made in just five and half years of existence. In order to do that, we realise that we have to continue giving our supporters what they want, on the pitch and on the shelf."