Chinese Sportswear Brands Hope For Brazil Sales Bounce

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First-quarter sales figures indicate that Chinese sportswear brands are showing signs of recovery, and companies expect further growth this summer to come from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

A group of domestic athletic apparel manufacturers announced first-quarter sales and the scale of orders in the fourth quarter, both of which have witnessed an increase.

Peak Sport Products Co Ltd, one of the main players in the sportswear industry, said fourth-quarter sales rose between 10% and 20% compared with the same period of the previous year. Orders have increased for three quarters in a row since Peak Sport resumed publicising its orders result in November last year, according to the company.

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Another sportswear company, 361 Degrees International Ltd, announced 1.8% same-store growth in the first quarter year-on-year.But, the positive effects expected to be brought by the World Cup are quite limited, analysts said.

"The game's effect in boosting sales of sportswear products would be much less than has been thought, because football-related sporting goods make up only a small portion of the whole market," said Zhang Qing, CEO of Beijing Key Solution Sports Consulting Co. He added that some domestic sportswear makers would exhibit recovery in the year's second half while some would need a longer period to climb out of their slump.

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Over the past two years, Chinese sportswear companies have been plagued by high inventory, lack of innovation and rising competition from fast-fashion brands and e-commerce platforms. To bounce back, a number of sportswear companies, such as Li Ning Co, have changed the way they do business. Signs of Li Ning's gradual recovery come from a series of efforts, including optimising sales networks and shutting down stores with low performance.       

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