Sports Direct Accuses Nike and Adidas of Unfairly Controlling the Bouncy Shoes Market

By Gary Cutlack on at

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct is attempting to start a little war with Nike and Adidas, and is accusing the two sportswear giants of using their big brand leverage to control the market; demanding competition authorities initiate a "wide market review" of their UK and EU operations.

Sports Direct is particularly angry with Adidas, and says the firm has refused to supply the retailer with stock and even withdrawn supplies of replica kits seemingly on a whim in the past, and this is indicative of how Adidas and rival Nike attempt to influence supply and therefore pricing of their products. The statement from Sports Direct says: "These 'must have' brands hold an extremely strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the retailers within their supply networks and use their market power to implement market wide practices aimed at controlling the supply and, ultimately, the pricing of their products."

Imagine Mike Ashley saying "vis-à-vis" in every sentence. The angry declaration accuses the two footwear makers of restricting the ranges retailers may offer, and clearly infers that pulling products and flat-out refusing to offer stock of some items is tantamount to a form of price fixing that competition watchdogs ought to have a poke at. [Sports Direct [PDF] via BBC]