Adidas will allow its products to be sold on the open market following an investigation into its etailing practices by the German Federal Cartel Office.
Dealers were banned from selling its products through online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, but this has now been reversed for all Adidas and Reebox products.
Some 14,000 signatures were handed to the EU Commission over Adidas’ practices in December, two months into an investigation that has since been dropped. Retailers will now receive guidelines on how to market and display product on such sites.
An Adidas spokesman said the ban was in place to ensure quality control, although he noted this had improved on key sites: “If you go to a bricks-and-mortar store, you can speak to an experienced salesperson [to select an appropriate product]. This quality is something we need to ensure online. We need to make sure there are alternative products available on the site and good images are being displayed, for example. It’s about making sure the consumer gets the perfect item.”
President of the German Federal Association Online-Trade Oliver Prothmann said: “Adidas’s turnaround will set an important precedent and is likely to sway other manufacturers with similar clauses.”
A spokesman for sports retailer Intersport, which stocks Adidas products, added: “The decisive factor will be which online strategy Adidas chooses to take. If it decides to sell directly through Amazon, this would have an anticompetitive effect and exclude individual sport retailers from online business.”