LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Sports Direct will not be selling replica kits of Premier League soccer side Chelsea next season, after their maker Adidas decided Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer did not fit in with its new distribution strategy.
Adidas, which in June signed a 10-year shirt deal worth a reported 300 million pounds ($491 million) with the west-London based side, said on Thursday it regularly reviewed where its products are distributed based on criteria such as in-store environment and customer service.
The German sporting goods maker said its customers could still buy a range of Adidas products at Sports Direct stores.
Sports Direct, whose cut-price offers together with acquisitions and growing online sales have seen it rise rapidly during the downturn to some 400 UK stores, with more across Europe, said the decision was impossible to understand.
“We feel Sports Direct stores are very well known for football,” Sports Direct Chief Executive Dave Forsey told reporters. “I think our Chelsea supporters would definitely be surprised not to be able to find the official replica kit from next season in our stores.”
Forsey was speaking after Sports Direct posted a 17 percent rise in profit, although its shares fell 8 percent as management said following a better-than-expected performance in the first half, trading had now reverted to its original expectations.
Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said it was still in talks with Adidas but as things stood replica Chelsea kits would not be in store next season.
Sports Direct will still sell other Chelsea supporter wear.
Chelsea could not be reached for comment.