Trends & Features

Q&A: Richard Townsend, sales manager at Solo Sports, Arena’s UK distributor

When did you get into the sports trade?
I began my working life in the leisure services department of
Leeds City Council. Although not truly the sports trade, it was
an involvement with sport that led me to develop my
ambitions towards the path I then took. That was in 1978 and I
have worked in the sports industry ever since.

Biggest influence on your career?
A man called Alastair Woodhead, who at the time had
taken Arena away from adidas and made it into a standalone
brand in its own right. He took a chance and gave me my first
job in the industry as an area sales representative. Since
then I have never looked back, working for such brands as
Head and Prince.

Proudest professional moment?
There have been many highlights in my career, which is
understandable when sport has been your life, both in work
and recreation. If I had to pick a standout moment though it
would have to be Solo Sports giving me the opportunity to
manage sales for the Arena brand.
I have always championed the position of specialist
manufacturers over the multinational conglomerates that
dominate the sports industry. Without the specialist brands
pushing the boundaries of technological development, sport in
all areas would not be where it is today. Arena is key to this
development within the swimming world. Who would not be
proud to say they were part of that development?

Favourite Arena product?
It’s difficult to pick out my favourite Arena product, as they’re
all developed to fulfil a specific need within swimming. From a
simple piece of shaped plastic called a freestyle breather to the
carbon race suits that have taken the race world by storm, all
Arena products are developed for the right reasons, with
swimming as their priority.
If it was purely on innovation, it would have to be the
carbon family of race suits. Arena has created a technology
never before thought of and pushed the boundaries in
development far beyond what once was thought impossible.

How’s business been during the past 12 months?
As a result of the developments made by Arena across all
product groups, sales throughout 2015 have grown steadily.
Brand profile is gaining momentum as the swimming world
sees Arena as the brand of the moment. Arena has a
determination to push the technological boundaries even
further, giving a solid platform to move forward now and
for the future.

What parts of the business will be growth areas
in the next 12 months?

Arena has a history of development in technological
advancement. This secures the future, as the ethos of the
company is to push the boundaries to their limits and beyond
to maintain and grow market share.
To become the world’s first choice in swimwear is a goal all
swim companies aspire to and Arena is no different. The
difference is Arena concentrates on positive development and
is always striving to find something extra. The future is
foremost in the company’s thoughts, which rules out
complacency, making it much easier to maintain the growth
targeted for 2016.

With all this in mind, growth is expected across all
categories, but a higher percentage increase is expected
across triathlon products, goggles and seasonal textiles.

For more information call 01539 622 322 or visit

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