Even All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads has backed fans and retailers saying he can’t understand why the Rugby World Cup jersey is so much more expensive in New Zealand, where demand is so high.
An All Blacks replica jersey, manufactured by adidas, has been available for $220 in New Zealand retail stores, but listed for sale at $US79.99 ($NZ92.68) on the website worldrugbyshop.com.
However, the website has subsequently removed New Zealand as a delivery option.
Tanya Hoston, a spokeswoman for worldrugbyshop.com, told TVNZ that adidas’ distribution policies “limit our sale of this product outside the United States”.
Asked if adidas told the site to remove New Zealand from the distribution list, Hoston said: “From the information I’m receiving, I believe that is true.”
Rod Duke the boss of leading sports retailer, Rebel Sport said this morning that adidas had made a mistake. Rebel had finished its talks with adidas, which had made its position very clear. He described adidas’ position as “intransigent”.
He would be releasing a decision later this morning about what Rebel Sport would be doing with the jersey.
Some New Zealand outlets, like Sportsworld, have sold out of the jerseys after selling them for $124.45 – a loss.
Whakatane Sportsworld owner Tony Bonne said he was making a point.
“People can legally import product now without any GST on it. When we sell that jersey at $124.45, we’re selling it for $108 because the balance is going to the government on tax, so that’s really the point I’m going to take up with the Retailers’ Association.”
Bonne said Sportsworld had sold out within hours of the jerseys going online at the discounted price.
“We’ve sold hundreds of jerseys now throughout New Zealand, with many people calling us up and buying in bulk.
“Everybody looks up to the All Blacks as New Zealand icons and to be able to purchase a New Zealand iconic jersey overseas for cheaper than in New Zealand – there’s something wrong,” he said.
Sportsworld would continue to sell the jerseys at the online price until 5pm tomorrow, when they would go back to selling them at $220.
Sir Colin Meads said “People like to get dressed up in rugby gear and go to the rugby games and display their rugby jerseys and I thought just by changing the jerseys this year, like they change them every year just so people keep buying them new ones.”
“It’s a result of the professional era of rugby and it’s a way to make money.”
Adidas New Zealand manager David Huggett said last night that it understood people’s concerns but would be sticking by its retail price.
“We’re comfortable our price to the local retail trade is a reasonable one,” Huggett said in a statement.
“The price of the All Blacks jersey was comparable to other replica jerseys being sold in the country,” he said.
“Larger retail markets like the United Kingdom and United States often have lower retail cost structures,” Huggett said.
He said the price of the All Blacks replica jersey had not changed since May 2009, with the exception of the GST increase last year.
Huggett said rugby fans knew they were supporting New Zealand rugby when they bought a replica All Blacks jersey.
“We invest millions of dollars in Kiwi rugby from grassroots through to the All Blacks, including a major investment in the state-of-the-art All Black jersey.”
“People being able to buy jerseys for a cheaper price online was no different to being able to buy cosmetics or other consumer products more cheaply from offshore retailers,” he said.
Adidas has missed the point with this issue. As the manufacturer they can charge whatever they like in each market they sell into. It is a business decision to set the price so high in New Zealand.
Adiads is prepared to wear the backlash for the greater profits they will reap from the much higher margins even if they sell less jerseys.
Colin Meads was right. It is about “making money”. There is nothing wrong with that, but Adidas has misjudged the public mood on this issue. They have also misjudged the publics willingness to utilise the internet and buy offshore in the US and the UK for half the price.
The public perception of Adidas as a major All Blacks sponsor has been tarnished. They claim on one hand that we are free to buy the jersey offshore “like cosmetics or other consumer products” but then instruct their agent selling them in the US not to sell into the NZ market.
We as consumers are supposed to accept that and pay inflated prices. It is in keeping with Adidas’s underlying attitude that New Zealand consumers are a bit simple and will trundle along to the local outlets and pay $220 for a jersey available elsewhere for half the price.
New Zealanders are fair people. If the jerseys cost $220 in the US and Similar in NZ then that is fine. But to have such a major price difference is bizarre.
Adidas are perfectly entitled to do what they have done, but need to be preparred to wear the consequences of their decision both in general revenue and brand damage in the New Zealand market.