The UK sports and fitness industry is showing signs of a downturn. Profits at Sports Direct, who own Sports World, the UK’s largest sportswear chain, were 50% down last year.
CEO Michael Ashley, who also owns England football team Newscastle United, said that it was by far the worst year in the history of the company. People are already being forced to tighten their belts* and are staying away from the High Street stores.
A large part of the business is football replica kits and other fashion accessories such as Nike trainers and other top branded clothing. Like other high street sports shops, many people who shop there are buy item of clothing for everyday wear, and not for fitness training.
*Interestingly, when there is a credit crunch, recession, and general period of job losses, inflation and reduction in income, people say that they have to “tighten their belts”.
This phrase originates from the days when food was the main outgoing cost for a household, and in times of struggle, people would be forced to eat less, and would “tighten their belts” as they knew they would be losing weight during the difficult times. However now, the credit crunch does not really affect eating habits.
Generally, lower income families are more likely to be overweight. Today’s credit crunch simply means, for most families, that they have to forego some luxuries. So rather than tighten their belts, they are really buying less DVD’s, taking holidays locally rather than in foreign resorts, and staying in more.
People generally still have enough money to over eat, even during the credit crunch! So belt tightening is not required.