Justine McGovern, managing director of Reydon Sports, talks to Mark Hayhurst about the company’s goals and plans for the future
The Covid pandemic saw Reydon Sports look at diversification and saw a jump into the outdoor market.
And the company has one goal and that is to make it as easy as possible for retailers to make money.
The B2B company has been around since the 1970s. Originally a toys and games wholesaler, Reydon Sports was eventually born in the late 80s supplying sports equipment up and down the country. Forty years on and five buildings later they’re now bigger, better and pride themselves in being Europe’s leading wholesaler for sports, leisure, toy and outdoor.
Reydon Sports do not retail or sell directly to the end consumer and firmly sit as a trade company that supplies sports retailers and independent customers, such as Lifestyle, Holland & Barret, Elverys, Pro Direct and Next. They are based in Birch Park, Giltbrook, in Nottinghamshire.
Reydon Sports has a huge range of products across their sectors, Justine McGovern said: “We have over 120 brands, which are a combination of third party and own, and offer a full A-Z selection of sports equipment, toys, leisure products as well as outdoor.
“We have 13 of our own brands and exploit these to the trade as alternatives to A brands and also use as leverage for retailers to capitalise on with healthier margins. Precision training, Urban Fitness and Murphy’s are seen as the growth drivers at Reydon and we also have many others that venture across a number of sectors. Own brand is very important for us at Reydon as we have the freedom to explore product and market innovation, allowing the retailer to be our primary channel to sell to the end consumer. Our job is to improve and hold vast amounts of industry-leading stock and make B2B life simple.”
Every industry over the past two years has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has put a hold on a lot of business but for Reydon Sports it led to innovations and new markets, especially outdoor.
Justine said: “Despite the temporary closures for many businesses throughout 2020, Reydon remained open at the ‘top of the food’ chain and continued to source and supply the trade outside of the world of sport. We began bringing in paddling pools, garden games and whatever product was relevant to retailers at that time. If anything, Covid-19 allowed us to revaluate the business and key brands, moving away from a typical tunnel vision many companies can go through. For example, we have now massively grown some of our own brands including Urban Fitness, which went from a seven-piece brand to 70.
“Also, we decided to increase our outdoor offering. So straightaway, we opened that Outdoor Channel and we’re now dealing with outdoor shops. We decided to take on a third-party brand, Trespass. That proved successful so we decided to produce our own 35-piece brand called Six Peaks, which contains products such as reflective vests for running or walking, beanies, gloves, torches and sports vests. We also have Swim Tech, so we ventured into open swim and into parkas, ponchos and things like that.”
The pandemic also gave Reydon Sports a chance to re-evaluate their online presence and the service they provide for their retailers.
Justine explained: “We’ve created a unique drive for customers to delve into in order to grab the huge array of digital brand content on offer.
“We can sell the product to the retailer but they have to then push the product to their customers. So, we have just spent the last 18 months building all the content into an easy-to-use function so the customers can download it, save it to their files and push it on websites and social media.
“So, now, whenever we bring a new product or brand to market, we see that marketing support is there for our customers.”
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Reydon Sports and the business has undergone an overhaul in recent years. Reydon is a family-owned business, they were in a bit of a slump when Frank Doherty, son of the owner, took over as managing director and turned Reydon around. Now Frank has decided to take a mini step back as chairman, with his dad, and Justine took over as managing director.
Justine said: “Frank arrived and he put in a new system and a new team. I, with other people, fronted it. We looked at our product mix and we were doing 3,500 SKUs, probably five years ago, we now do about 7,000 SKUs. So, it was all about getting the right brand mix and stock levels, we used to always run out of stock and never have enough.
“So, our whole system is better, our warehouse system is better and our way of selling is better. Our internal system is connected to the website, the warehouse, the sales team and the accounts package is all in one. Also, our stock availability is in real time as well.
“We put out two catalogues a year. One is the B2B rate, which is 350 pages plus long and has everything the retailer will need to have behind the counter to flip through and circle to order with us.
“The other is our Team Sports catalogue that has full SRP pricing. There’s nothing in it to do with the trade, nothing to do Reydon. We get 1,000s of these printed, and we give them to the retailers so they can send them on to clubs, schools and to the end consumer.
“So, a lot of these retailers might have small little shops but this catalogue has 300 pages worth of sports equipment. They can send it to their local clubs to browse and then they can order the equipment through the shop.”
Reydon Sports also has big plans for the future but, as always, their ethos is to put the interests of their customers first.
Justine said: “Our aim is to keep supporting the retail industry and making sure retail keeps existing online and in bricks and mortar too, that’s our job.
“Our job is to make it as easy as possible for retailers to make money.
“We’re also looking at a third-party warehouse because we are running out of space to keep up with a significant amount of year-on-year growth.”