Go Sport retail group about to sell Polish subsidiary to Sportmaster
Go Sport is looking to further trim down its assets. The French sport retailer, owned by the Rallye group, sold thriving sport chain Courir to the Equistone investment fund at the start of the year. On July 24, Go Sport announced it entered exclusive negotiations with Sportmaster with a view to selling its Polish subsidiary, confirming news reported by specialised magazine SportGuide.
Go Sport entered the Polish market in 1999, and it currently operates 33 stores in the country. Singapore-based Sportmaster claims to be the third-largest European distributor of sporting goods and, since its creation in 2005, it has been operating chiefly in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Russia and Ukraine), as well as in China and Kazakhstan. Sportmaster runs 520 stores and it would open a new market by entering Poland.
The sale of the Polish subsidiary, which needs to be approved by competition authorities, would enable Go Sport to release funds to try and bounce back on the French domestic market. As the group stated in a press release, it wishes “to refocus on France for its integrated activities. The proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in transforming the company, a process which began at the start of the year.”
It is worth reminding that, last March, Go Sport reshuffled its senior management team: CEO André Ségura was replaced by Philippe Favre and Brice Garnier, two consultants at Prosphères, a corporate turnaround specialist well-known in the French distribution sector.
The Go Sport group was created in the 1970s and currently operates 400 stores, 214 of them under the Go Sport name, and also owns the Endurance Shop (bought in 2018), Bike + and Techniciens du sport chains. Despite the down-sizing under way in France, Go Sport entered the Indian market in May 2019, opening its first two stores in the sub-continent in partnership with local distribution group Tablez.
For the financial year 2018, Go Sport’s parent company Rallye indicated that, excluding Courir, the sport retailer’s revenue was €494 million, equivalent to a growth of 5.4% (3.3% at constant exchange rates), without providing any information about profitability. Rallye, which also owns grocery retailers Casino and Monoprix, entered into safeguard proceedings last May due to the heavy debt which is burdening its finances.
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