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The last 12 months have illustrated once more the fact that the sporting goods industry is far more resistant to an economic crisis than many other sectors and is more dependent on the weather. In the first three months of 2009, but also from October well into December, snow and cold temperatures led to promising retail sales results. Next to the winter business, sales figures developed positively also in the categories of football, running and fitness. In times of crisis people prefer to stay at home for their vacation. They love to go out in the nature, and this has caused the outdoor business to boom in 2009, with double-digit growth rates in many countries. Furthermore, the general trend towards more motion, health and an optimum work/life balance has positively influenced sporting goods retailers’ sales, although high-priced sporting goods like bikes or fitness machines suffered losses.
For the INTERSPORT Group, active in 37 countries, business developed very positively in the Scandinavian countries, in Central Europe as well as in Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and Turkey. Sales setbacks had to be accepted in Italy, Russia and Spain. Says Franz Julen, CEO of IIC - INTERSPORT International Corp.: "With a sales increase of at least 5% over 2008, in 2009 INTERSPORT's retail sales will exceed 9 billion Euros for the first time. The Football World Cup in South Africa has already started to have a positive effect. The official ball of the tournament and the home jerseys were popular Christmas gifts."
The winter season 2009/10 has had a very promising start. From October to December the Group’s sales grew worldwide by 6%, and thanks to the cold winter weather all over Europe, sales developed positively, also in the first days of January.