Young fashion indies have pledged to axe Gio-Goi from their stores if it proves to be another brand acquired by Sports Direct.
Gio-Goi stockists told Drapers they were concerned about the impact of the deal, understood to be close to completion after the brand fell into administration last week, as revealed exclusively by Drapers.
Indies fear a repeat of Sports Direct’s acquisition of Firetrap in March last year, which led to many stockists being considerably undercut when the retailer began selling the brand in its own stores.
Nigel Binnie, owner of South Shields men’s young fashion indie Edit Clothing, which stocks Gio-Goi, said: “It would make me very wary of continuing to sell it after what happened with Firetrap.
“Once a brand goes into Sports Direct it opens it up to a whole different audience, so I’d rather put my money into something else.”
Dan Jones, owner of young fashion indie Quest Clothing in Bangor, north Wales, said he had been mulling whether to buy Gio-Goi for autumn 13 but “definitely wouldn’t touch it” if it was bought by Sports Direct.
“Firetrap was our number one denim brand for three seasons, but since it went to Sports Direct we can’t even
give it away at half price,” he said.
A buyer at another young fashion indie, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Gio-Goi will still have a financial future if Sports Direct gets it because Mike Ashley has cash, but what other retailer will want to buy it when he is selling the T-shirts in his stores for £10? It’s a shame because in its day it was a great brand with an interesting heritage.”
But one London young fashion stockist said she was not “too worried” as Gio-Goi was no longer a significant part of their business, adding: “That look isn’t really what sells anymore.”
Meanwhile, Drapers has learned that Sports Direct has acquired basketball-inspired footwear brand Travel Fox from Taiwanese distributor Travel Fox International. Travel Fox has not been in the UK for some time but was sold in the early 1990s via stockists such as footwear retailer Offspring. It is currently wholesaled in Asia through Japanese department store group Sogo.
Sports Direct declined to comment on either acquisition.