Two years ago, SPORT 2000 International launched the specialised retail format ABSOLUTE. The market has shown that hyper-specialisation leaves room for growth. SPORT 2000’s international concept allows retailers to dramatically increase their visibility and guarantees closer cooperation at eye-level with network and suppliers alike. This enables independent sports retailers to focus still more intensively on their core competence: providing personalised expert advice for their customers. Since the concept was launched in 2019, SPORT 2000 has signed up 5 ABSOLUTE TEAMSPORT and 5 ABSOLUTE RUN retailers who value full specialisation. Expansion into other themed areas such as fitness and the outdoors is planned for the future. Three ABSOLUTE RUN retailers – Silvio Suderow, Oliver Mienert and Nasir Rafiq – talk about their decision to implement the concept and provide insights into ABSOLUTE’s success story.
Specialisation is the future of retail
Customers and industry partners expect sports retailers to provide the best quality, expertise and advice. Launched two years ago, the ABSOLUTE international retail format is laying a solid foundation for the future of SPORT 2000. However, specialisation alone is not enough to make a retailer successful, as Jörg Seifert, head of Division Running at SPORT 2000 knows. He emphasises that the whole package has to be right: “The success of specialisation rests entirely on the business owner’s knowledge. The owner can only be successful in a leading position if they live the sport and know their location, competitors and consumers inside out. Our ABSOLUTE retailers stand out from the rest because of their authenticity and exceptional expertise in their field.”
Growth with ABSOLUTE
Silvio Suderow also believes in this approach. He had already been operating a successful running store in Bonn for some years and was well ahead of the competition in the city at the time he became the first retailer to join ABSOLUTE RUN in 2019. The keen entrepreneur and runner saw the change as a great opportunity for development: “Sales at the running store in Bonn had reached the limit of their growth, so we had to make decisions about active changes so that we could keep on growing. In this situation, it’s a good idea to ask someone from outside to help you analyse the areas that have potential. Our close cooperation with SPORT 2000 soon convinced us that ABSOLUTE RUN is the right way to go,” explains Suderow, who has twice taken part in the famous Ironman event in Hawaii and is delighted by the results achieved so far: “The higher level of commitment on both sides enables us to achieve more. But I am still 100% independent, which is an enormous advantage for a retailer. Our sales have more than doubled since we opened.” For Suderow, this also confirms that he has made the right decisions as a CEO. His results-oriented management, focus on clear targets and dedicated team have enabled him to improve the quality of his store still further.
Support at all levels
SPORT 2000 gives ABSOLUTE retailers the best possible support. This includes attractive store design concepts, community management recommendations and supply chain organisation. The retailers can then focus fully on their core competences – providing personalised consulting and sales services – while staying close to their customers. “As a business manager, I can’t be the best in every area. It’s a good feeling to have experts at your side to support you,” stresses Suderow. There is also great solidarity within the ABSOLUTE community – a marvellous experience for Oliver Mienert, the newest member of the ABSOLUTE RUN family. He opened his new store in Augsburg at the beginning of March 2021 – right in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. “Apart from the incredible support provided by SPORT 2000 – without which I would never have been able to open the store – I really appreciate the communication with other ABSOLUTE RUN retailers. This is an immense support, particularly in difficult times like these,” emphasises Mienert, a running specialist with more than 25 years of experience in the industry, who adds: “We see ourselves as a community and not as competitors; after all, strategically speaking we’re all in the same boat. In my view, this is another element of ABSOLUTE’s success concept.” Despite the restrictions on shopping, Oliver Mienert declared himself very satisfied with the amount of footfall during the months since the store opened. A charity run which he organised attracted 204 motivated participants and raised 1,020 Euro for a cancer initiative. For Mienert, this was a ray of hope and a positive sign for the future.
Success beyond Europe
However, ABSOLUTE RUN is popular beyond European borders as well as in Germany. Nasir Rafiq, general manager of Falaknaz Sports Group L. L. C., opened his ABSOLUTE RUN store in the United Arab Emirates’ world-famous Dubai Mall in 2020 and hasn’t regretted the decision for an instant: “Opening the store was without a doubt the right thing to do. We saw that there was a market gap in Dubai and with it the potential for a running store. As the region’s very first specialist running store, we have quickly established ourselves as the first port of call for passionate runners. The store is doing remarkably well despite the current pandemic.” As in all ABSOLUTE RUN stores, customers will not only find top brands such as Asics, Brooks, New Balance and On, but also a dynamic foot analysis service. According to Rafiq, this is a level of specialisation that makes ABSOLUTE stand out: “The shopping experience has become much more important for customers than the mere availability of products. People now expect more engagement and personalised solutions. That’s exactly what we ABSOLUTE retailers deliver,” says Nasir Rafiq, summarising what ABSOLUTE retailers worldwide have in common.
Profile: Silvio Suderow
I am … a lover of all things outdoors.
I prefer running … up and down and back and forth through the forest.
My absolute favourite running shoes … depend on the terrain and what kind of running I’m doing. They include all kinds of brands from Kinvara, Cloud Surfer and Caldera to Clifton, Torrent and NB 1500.
One running achievement that I’m particularly proud of is … running the Bonn Marathon with very good friends. We didn’t quite beat our target of finishing in under 3 hours, but we had a lot of fun along the way.
For me, running is…a lifestyle and form of mental relaxation.
Profile: Oliver Mienert
I am… a keen runner and have been for more than 20 years.
I prefer running… long distances – marathons and ultramarathons.
My absolute favourite running shoes are… are changing every day. I have a credo: the more variety, the better for the muscles and well-being.
One running achievement that I’m particularly proud of is…taking part in the 24h run in Munich’s Olympiapark in 2011. I managed a distance of 151.116 km.
For me, running is… the perfect way to start the day.
Profile: Nasir Rafiq
I am…Nasir Rafiq.
I prefer running… three times a week.
My absolute favourite running shoes are… Asics Gel Nimbus.
For me, running is… a way to build up trust. Running is a way for me to keep challenging myself and maintain high energy levels.