Rapid Retail, the stadium and events retail unit specialist, has proven to be one of the most successful signings during the final weeks of the football season.
While European football clubs will be spending millions on new players this summer, they have already been busy recruiting Rapid Retail. The Midlands-based company, together with sister company UK Kiosks, designs, constructs, supplies and fits high-quality retail units and kiosks, which are used to sell merchandise and programmes but are also increasingly being utilised as catering units, ticket collection offices and information points. The firm has secured new deals with French Ligue 1 & 2 and Spanish La Liga clubs and is set to announce further contracts later this year. In the last few months Rapid Retail has generated business to the value of half a million pounds.
Together with Spanish club Atlético Madrid, French teams FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Olympique de Marseille, AS Monaco and newly-promoted Troyes AC have all signed up the company. Rapid Retail’s units are already in place at FC Barcelona, PSG, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Stade de France.
For FC Girondins de Bordeaux, where the New Bordeaux Stadium was inaugurated for the club’s final match of the season at the end of last month, Rapid Retail has supplied 11 retail units together with two concourse display units. The portable retail units will be used throughout the stadium, including the club’s newly created fanzone area, for the sale of club merchandise and programmes, as information points and first aid offices and as bar and display units for club sponsors Carlsberg and Kia Motors. The new stadium has increased the club’s home match capacity from 36,000 to 42,000, and, as an official stadium of the UEFA EURO 2016, will host five Championship matches in June next year.
Rapid Retail’s growing links with European Clubs reflect the exciting developments at the company and its expansion abroad. French, Spanish and Dutch speaking employees are now working alongside native personnel at its base in Worcestershire. French websites and social media accounts have also been set up.
Frédéric Lendormi, Rapid Retail’s recently-acquired French Business intern, has been recruited to assist Managing Director, Nick Daffern, in developing the business in Europe, with a particular emphasis on the French market. He said:
This is a very exciting time for me. Rapid Retail’s branded merchandising units and kiosks are unique products. To be given the opportunity to introduce them to the French market, where nothing similar exists, is a great privilege. We are hoping to emulate the British model where most of the Premier League, Championship and other league clubs are utilising the units with great success.
Despite consumer retail trends moving progressively more towards online purchases in recent years, the ever-increasing capacities at stadia endorses high football attendance figures. In France, where the Ligue 1 stadia capacities range from 15,000 at Evian TG to over 65,000 at Olympique de Marseille, the average attendance for matches this season reached more than 19,000 (source: soccerstats.com). In comparison, overall match attendance at similar top flight leagues in Europe during the 2014/15 season averaged 23,000 in Spain, 39,000 in Germany and 33,000 in the UK.
Nick Daffern said:
Sporting events require such huge organisation that we offer to take care of one very important aspect. You have to make the place you are selling merchandise, programmes, food or drinks visible, accessible and easy to use. Fans pay a lot of money for tickets and rightly expect a good experience.
When we launched our business in 2007, we had just one key customer, Manchester City, where our shop unit and kiosk count is still growing year upon year. We now supply many football clubs in all divisions with our units and are delighted that more and more European clubs are calling upon us too. This illustrates the confidence they have in us in helping them to create smooth customer flow around stadia, and in assisting them to take their branded product to the consumer.
We firmly believe that flexibility is key. We offer our clients an affordable rental cost, so there is not a huge amount of cash investment, although some clubs do choose to purchase. The shops can also be moved around, offering clients more placement choice depending on their merchandising and logistics needs.
The sporting goods retail industry was reported to account for nearly €36bn of European revenue last year, according to Statista.