Reebok to open Euro chain

Sportswear manufacturer launches first of a Europe-wide fashion chain in Lakeside shopping centre.

Sportswear giant Reebok will open its first standalone European retail store in the UK next month (April).

The store, at the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, will be followed by more in the UK later this year. The company also plans to introduce stores with a “fashion focus”, which will include new Reebok fashion lines.

Reebok, which has until now sold goods in Europe through concessions, already runs retail outlets in the US. The flagship retail store in the UK will include an interactive console which will allow consumers to access descriptions, colours and sizes of footwear and sportswear.

Reebok retail development executive Helen Barker says: “This venture is a step towards fashion for Reebok, while remaining true to our sportswear heritage.”

Last month, the company launched its global campaign, “Defy convention”, which was created by New York-based agency Berlin Cameron & Partners. The global TV and print campaign features endorsements from the brand’s roster of athletes, including tennis star Venus Williams, who has a $40m (&£28m) five-year contract with Reebok. It is the largest endorsement deal for a female athlete.

The global campaign follows the &£4m “bouncing beer-belly” ad, which was created by Lowe Lintas in November last year.

In a deal with UK Athletics, Reebok will sponsor the kit for Great Britain teams until the World Championships in 2005.

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