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Intersport UK and Allied Partners to merge

Intersport UK and Allied Partners are to merge from April 1.

The announcement was made on the first day of ispo 10 in Munich and follows talks between the two organisations that began in December last year.

The move will see Allied Partners’ 28 members adopt the Intersport store branding – although they will have the right to retain the original name of their stores – and gain access to Intersports’ own-brand range and the retailer’s four annual shows.

Allied Partners’ two shows before the end of March will go ahead as planned, while the buying group’s direct importing activity will be unaffected by the merger.

Allied Partners’ Pro Cricket and Velocity table tennis ranges will be made available to Intersport members, as will its successful loyalty card scheme.

As part of the move Adrian Pointer, a prominent member of Allied Partners, will join the six-man Intersport board.

According to the joint press statement issued at ispo, Allied Partners’ regular supplier promotions, its skills in sourcing high quality products and ability to identify suppliers seeking wider distribution were all instrumental considerations in sealing the merger.

Effective communications and the strong synergy between Allied Partners’ members, through a category management structure, also played an integral role in the agreement being reached.

The statement also said suppliers had been quick to signal their approval of the merger.

Says Peter Bateman, chairman of Allied Partners: “After nearly 30 years of being a most successful independent and hands-on buying group, we feel now is the time to merge with Intersport UK.

“Whilst we currently enjoy an excellent networking relationship with ISRA and will continue to do so, we are very excited at the prospect of joining forces with such a strong market leader in the UK as Intersport.

“We are confident that this new merger will bring the best out in both of us for the overall benefit of the industry.”

Barry Mellis, general manager of Intersport, says: “I have dealt with Allied over the past 20 years and have come to admire their working practices and their principles.

“As organisations we hold dear a similar ethos and like ideals. We are both non-profit making groups, and we reached our agreement based on the clear and abiding synergies that exist between us.

“As a larger enterprise, we believe we can serve all our members more effectively and together we can deliver even better value and greater advantages by the careful, sensitive and systematic integration of the best practices from both groups.”

Tom Foley of ISRA said that while the Independent Sports Retailers Alliance have a good working relationship with Intersport, there was no plans for a more formal agreement between the two organisations.

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