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Everyone’s a winner with sports fashion

Retailers are set to cash in on the growing demand for sports-related fashion in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics after research showed that the category would drive the lion’s share of sales in the general sports sector over the next five years.

Sports fashion, which accounts for 75% of sales in the sports market, will provide a much-needed boost to the market, which is forecast to grow 21% to £6bn by 2012 after two years of decline, according to a report by research firm Mintel.

High street retailers, which have not previously had a specific sportswear offer, would benefit from doing so, according to Mintel senior leisure analyst Matt King, who cited Next’s decision to trial dedicated sportswear areas as an example.

Retailers such as JD Sports Fashion and fashion-focused Sports Direct have both reported strong trading in the past year.

Sales of sports fashion will also be bolstered during this season and the next from events such as the current football World Cup in South Africa and as trends for luxe sportswear take off.

King said the UK market for sports fashion was more buoyant than in Europe as UK shoppers differ in their shopping habits from their European counterparts.

“Of the people who do not participate in sport, 35% have still bought from sports retailers in the past 12 months,” King added.

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