adidas Golf Sales Director Sam Strange spoke to Golf Retailing Editor Dan Owen to explain how they are dealing with the product that is still being delayed due to the aftermath of Covid-19.

    How badly have adidas golf been impacted due to the extended lockdown in some parts of Asia?

    Every brand within the industry is experiencing product delays of some nature, whether it’s hardware, trolley, bags footwear or apparel. And it’s not isolated to the golf industry, for example, car dealers are trying to sell cars they just don’t have currently.

    Asia has had additional lockdowns beyond what we’ve had across Europe and it’s creating a big backlog in production. A result that’s had a knock-on effect to our incoming stock.
    Our footwear has been in a pretty good spot. The Retro was delayed until May, but we were able to communicate that early and managed trade expectations, while the rest of the footwear was in on time.

    Apparel has been the most affected. And obviously, when we’ve got seasonal drops of colour stories in March and May for Spring and summer, anything that’s delayed more than 30 days is pushing on the verge of falling into or even surpassing the next delivery window. We understand that’s far from ideal when it’s landing into the trade, and retailers are looking to merchandise their space the right way. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to tick the box of getting 100% of our product in on time.

    How are adidas Golf helping their retail partners?

    We are offering to the trade as a goodwill gesture, and a thank you for their support and understanding through this period, a fair solution. If anything that is on their Spring Summer order from those seasonal-specific items is more than 30 days late, we will be offering the opportunity to either have that product written down or have it cancelled off the order book. We understand that it might not fall in line with what their business needs are when it becomes available.

    All of our ASM’s have got that information, and they are communicating that to their retail partners. It’s also gone out to the buying groups, and I know that they’ve communicated that out to their partners or members.

    We want to work with the trade to help them get through this period and make sure that their stock in store is relevant, and that if it is coming in late, they’re able to make good margin rather than have to put it straight on sale.

    How do you plan on dealing with any excess product without impacting the retailer?

    We’re acutely aware of the issues caused by an influx of product to the market and we will safeguard ourselves and our partners from a devalued apparel market. We’ve got our own internal channels that we use for clearance products, with the added advantage of having our factory outlets across Europe where we can put a big chunk of this product, so it won’t come directly into golf retail.

    We will partner up with a couple of trusted retail partners to make sure any other excess stock is sold in a controlled manner.

    We have also been able to cancel many products at source. We don’t actually forecast there being a huge amount of clearance stock. What there is, we will manage sensibly as we have the best interests of the market at heart.

    I think everyone will agree over the last five or six years the trade has got to the best place it probably has done, especially post COVID, with regards to raising ASP’s and being as clean as it now. We don’t want to revert back to the old days.

    How have sales been so far this year?

    They’ve been really good and we’re considerably up versus Spring Summer 21 and that’s with the delays. The feedback that we’re getting from the trade within apparel and footwear is that the market is still very buoyant. We’re selling the product in, but more importantly, it’s selling through. That’s backed up by our CLICK numbers, the amount of re-orders through our B2B system are setting record highs.

    What is selling well for adidas?
    The usual suspects of our shorts and trousers. But especially our shorts, it’s a sign that a lot more people are looking to get away on golf trips this season, and the weather in the South has been warm so far this year.

    With our footwear, S2G has been really popular. There’s a new BOA model this year, which is really taking everyone by surprise. The sell-through numbers and reorder business we’ve seen on that is really strong. The re-launch of TOUR360 has been really positive as well.
    Now we’re heading into the summer, Retro has just come back in stock, and that’s selling through fantastically.

    Importantly, it feels as though there’s still a really big appetite for our products in the marketplace, and the whole range is selling through.

    Can the golf industry continue at the same rate it has over the last couple of years?
    Probably not. We all know the financial pressures that are on everyone with the increase in cost of living, it’s going to be tough. But the encouraging thing is that you know people are still spending money on products and they’re traveling and playing golf. I’d be surprised if participation numbers aren’t considerably up on where we were pre COVID.
    Whether it’s the buying groups or speaking to individual retailers, the message we’re receiving is that apparel and footwear is still selling very strongly. The younger people that have come into the game over the last couple of years have an affinity with the sports brands in golf, and the feedback on our range has been very positive.

    What can we look forward to second half of the year?

    Delays are looking a lot better. A lot less of our product for the second half is delayed. To give context, around 75% of our order book in the first half was on time. We’re looking at 80% plus in the second half, so that should give everyone a bit of confidence that their orders will be with them in a timely manner.

    All our ASM’s have got access to the order books and should be communicating that to their retail partners now. And obviously the 1st of July when that range launches is just around the corner.
    Beyond that, we’ll keep an eye on things, and if there are any particular products that are severely impacted by delays, we will come back to the trade with a similar offer to the current one.

    What are you excited for from a product standpoint?

    CodeChaos is coming at the end of June. We had great feedback when we sold in to our partners. There is a laced version, and a really cool BOA option that we’re excited to get out there.

    We’ve got a Blackout TOUR360 22 coming in September, and as the name suggests it’s all black with black BOOST. And at the same time, we’re bringing fleece into our apparel lineup in a big way. Product that is designed with a golfer’s performance in mind but with a strong fashion twist. GR

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.