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Duo sign Sports Direct Dunlop deal

Former JJB Sports chief executive Tom Knight and footwear consultant Colin Ross have secured the European licence for Dunlop Footwear from Sports Direct’s licensing subsidiary, International Brand Management (IBML).

Knight and Ross have set up a new sports footwear distribution business, Rossco Sportswear, to manage the brand, which is owned by IBML.

Knight was chief executive of sportswear business JJB Sports between 2002 and 2007.

Knight and Ross worked together at sports brand Umbro in the 1970s and have a combined 34 years’ footwear experience. The pair have inked a 10-year deal to distribute Dunlop, including the iconic Green Flash tennis shoe.

“Rossco Sportswear has all of the ingredients to be successful in this difficult trading period,” said Ross. “We are well financed, and we have established resourcing and considerable management expertise in the footwear market.”

The business has hired European sales agents for the brand. However, Ross said at present there were no plans to take on any additional brands. Ross said: “We must, for the time being at least, concentrate and focus our attention on Dunlop.”

Ross added that the high street retail market in the UK had changed dramatically over the past 12 months. “Suppliers have faced a knock-on effect due to the downturn. They have to cope with a much weaker pound, increased import duty and reduced margins to hold price increases at a minimum. Despite this, I am confident about the success of major brands,” he said.

Rossco Sportswear will show its spring 10 Dunlop range at streetwear show Bread & Butter in on July 1-3 at the former Berlin-Tempelhof airport in Berlin.

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