Sports Direct International plc, a British retailing giant that is known for its low margins, will open its first store on 1,600 sqm in Tallinn in Ülemiste Shopping Centre at the end of October, writes Äripäev.
© A.Didžgalvio nuotr.

Remi Aare, Baltic area manager of Sports Direct, said that the store will be offering same prices as in UK.

Guido Pärnits, board member of Ülemiste Shopping Centre, said that the company took advantage of the fact that the mall was expanding, becoming the anchor tenant in the newly-built section.

"While many retailers are trying to add e-commerce to their retail business, Sports Direct is supporting its e-commerce with physical stores," said Pärnits.

Controversy

Pärnits says that the opening also creates a controversy because Sports Direct owns a majority stake in Sportland which has a large sports store in the same shopping centre.

Sports Direct acquired 60% of Sportland Group, the largest sporting goods retailer and distributor of Nike products in the Baltic states, in May 2013.

"But I am sure that the new store will strengthen our position in the market for sports goods as we now have strong mono brand stores like Nike, multibrand stores like Sportland and a sports discounter, i.e., Sports Direct," added Pärnits, making no secret that Ülemiste mall is attempting to attract customers from other shopping malls.

"It’s better to have Sports Direct in your mall than to see it open in the neighbourhood or in a competing mall," he added.

Commenting the news, Gerd Kiili, chairman of Sportland Eesti, said that Sportland plans to change the concept of its store in Ülemiste mall that also has 1,650 sqm of floor space and become a store of a "digital age".

Pärnits said that the expanded Ülemiste Shopping Centre expects to increase the number of its daily visitors to 20,000.

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