The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is planning to launch a number of retail outlets next year in its first attempt to exploit the popularity of rugby on the high street.
The RFU plans to sell a wide range of merchandise through the outlets – to be dubbed the Rugby Store – including RFU-branded clothing, memorabilia and official kit, as well as shirts of rival nations’ teams.
Independent shops such as Rugby Scene have already tapped into the demand for rugby clothing in the wake of England’s World Cup victory last year. At the moment, the majority of the RFU’s sales are made through its website, although it also has a shop at the Twickenham stadium.
The organisation has agreed with a clothing supplier to launch lower-priced RFU-branded apparel aimed at supermarkets. The RFU already has licensing deals in place with Nike and Hackett, but has agreed that the lower-priced range will be sufficiently different as to prevent any conflict.