Apparel: Group Sales
Going after the team business — whether for clubs, leagues or schools — can be a nice boost for your store.
It all boils down to the outfits, and the right outfits are crucial to success. No other sport boasts better clothing options than tennis. Yoga and fitness wear might come close, but tennis has the goods.
For a tennis team, there’s not much worse than encountering an opposing team wearing the same outfits. But teams, and retailers, can take heart knowing there are more and more choices out there. There are the obvious go-to apparel players that many teams stick to, but in recent years there have been some movers and shakers who are making an impact on team wear and they all are adept at the customization that many teams, particularly schools, require.
While team wear can be big business for apparel companies, there’s also a very practical reason retailers should consider outfitting teams — it can be profitable. Getting a team of six or eight women all ordering from the same menu from your store, consistently, year after year, easily can help your bottom line. And think about the possibilities if your local middle school or high school has a no-cut tennis team, where potentially dozens of team members could be visiting your shop — which means plenty of other, non-apparel sales, too.
“Team wear is a great business niche because it brings in more business as a whole, especially with women’s club teams,” says Jen Cunningham, buyer for The Racket Man in Des Peres and Chesterfield, Mo. “Ladies come in for their team uniforms and end up buying more fashion-oriented pieces.”
Joyce Capuzzi, owner of The Tennis Shop in Collegeville, Pa., notes her store does a great team business year-round between women’s USTA, club and high school teams. “Servicing teams bring back a lot of individuals who buy more clothing and equipment,” she says. “Team business encourages more foot traffic, and that’s what you need in a store.”
The Indianapolis Racquet Club takes servicing teams extremely seriously — it works with between 2,000 and 4,000 teams yearly, from middle school to college, in 48 states. With all that volume, Patty Jones, who works on the team-wear side of the business, tends to notice what’s working and any trends with team apparel. “Pieces have remained pretty consistent over the years,” she says. “The big changes have been in the silhouettes.”
Asics and DUC Sport have been coming on strong with styles geared toward school teams. Some of DUC’s styles are reversible for more options. The style and fit is designed specifically for a high school girls’ tennis team. Asics has aligned with “developing young athletes,” who it believes will be loyal to their brand for life.
Antigua is a relative newcomer to the team wear arena, but company officials say that team sales are picking up. A lot of Antigua’s focus has been on embroidered apparel sales to clubs and retailers.
Some teams are going a different route to lines that have been more fashion-oriented, such as Tail and Bolle. Both manufacturers feature stylish graphics and color blocking that is appealing to both school and league teams. Tail’s "Electric Rush" line has been a popular choice for teams this year, and Bolle’s fashion pieces and High Performance line, such as “All That Jazz,” are becoming signature team standouts on the court.
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See all articles by Cynthia Sherman
About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for Tennis Industry magazine.
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