Next aims to please both athletes and the public in its role as official clothing supplier to the 2012 Olympics. Meanwhile, some brands could cash in on their heritage.
As the official clothing and homeware supplier to the London Olympics, Next will be designing Team GB’s outfits for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will also be designing and producing formalwear for the athletes and officials.
“Our priority is the athletes,” says Next group product director Christos Angelides. “We’re proud to be doing what we’re doing and we will do a good job.”
Angelides adds that the tie-up gave Next access to the Olympic museum archive to create unique products. He says he has seen initial samples, but won’t give further details. The collection will launch in store just before the Games next year, which kick off on July 27.
Although Angelides maintains that Next’s decision to be an official Olympic partner was not a commercial one - “we were genuine, that’s why we won the licensing agreement”, - the high street retailer has the chance to stand out from the crowd as far as Olympic merchandise is concerned.
“As part of the licensing agreement, we can use the London 2012 and Team GB logos on Next product, as well as
the historic emblems [associated with the Olympic Games],” Angelides explains. “We’ve already introduced some [Olympic merchandise] into stores to gauge consumer reaction and it’s been positive.” The product in store now is predominantly based on jerseywear and features graphic T-shirts and
hoodies for men and women (pictured). The 20 to 25-piece collection retails at £20 for T-shirts and £35 for hoodies.
Winners to watch
Even if you don’t buy into official Olympic merchandise, there are other labels worth stocking up on that will fly the British flag for shopping-hungry tourists looking to take a piece of heritage back home with them
British footwear brand Clarks is a favourite with Chinese tourists. They have been flocking to Clarks Village in Street, Somerset, to buy multiple pairs of Clarks shoes, which can cost twice as much in China.
Arguably the most iconic of all British brands, Burberry could do well out of London 2012, as there’s nothing quite like bagging yourself a trench coat from Burberry’s homeland, as opposed to international stores.
There’s no stopping the success of British label Mulberry, whose like-for-like sales across its stores soared 70% in the six weeks to January 15, leading the luxury brand to reveal that sales and profits for the full year would exceed expectations due to strong UK and export sales.