Online branded sports retailer Kitbag made its first foray into bricks-and-mortar retail this week with the launch of a pop-up shop to celebrate this year’s football World Cup.
The 7,000 sq ft store, in Manchester’s Market Street, is set over two floors and will be open for 90 days until the end of the tournament. The tournament runs from June 11 to July 11 in South Africa.
Kitbag managing director Ray Evans said that if the store was a success the etailer would consider opening flagship stores in key “football city” locations.
Although he ruled out opening a large chain of shops, he said there were “six or seven” cities where a shop with merchandise at the higher end of the market could work.
“Sports retail stores on the high street need to be woken up. They all look the same,” he said.
Kitbag, which is owned by home-shopping group Findel, will sell brands including Nike and Adidas in the pop-up store.
The store has 40 digital screens explaining details about the merchandise in the store and also features Apple Mac computers on which shoppers can access Kitbag’s full online range, and customers can make online purchases at the shop tills.
Kitbag will also run a number of special events in the store featuring famous faces such as football legends Geoff Hurst, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer.
In recent months, speculation has been rife that Findel, which bought Kitbag in 2006, may sell the business, with JD Sports believed to be one of the frontrunners to snap it up.