Hundreds back adidas boycott

By Amelia Wade, Hayley Hannan

Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Hundreds of New Zealanders have sworn to boycott adidas until the sports giant cuts the price of their All Blacks jerseys or allows customers to buy online from overseas.

The backlash, where some customers have returned adidas gear and vandalised advertising, comes as local retailers bow to public pressure and cut their prices by up to $50.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully waded into the debate yesterday and said the hard-edged price stance "is not doing them any good at all".

Following failed negotiations with adidas on Monday, Rebel Sport dropped the prices of All Blacks jerseys yesterday. The replica jerseys are $149.50, down from $189.99 while the Rugby World Cup editions drop from $220 to $170.

Competing retailer Champions of the World followed suit, despite saying it would mean they lose up to $200,000 across five stores.

But adidas continues to ignore the public outcry and pleas from retailers to cut the jersey prices.

The global sports company said some retailers' choice to drop their prices showed "healthy competition" in the market.

Country manager David Huggett said there were "dozens" of websites which Kiwis could use to buy jerseys from overseas.

"We're comfortable our price to local retail trade is a reasonable one," he said.

Fans still vented their anger despite stores lowering their prices.

Dean Griffin, 51, was so furious that he said he would never buy another adidas product - even if the company apologised and dropped prices.

"They must think that the people of New Zealand are stupid."

He had covered the adidas logo on his existing jerseys with a large white taped cross.

One Aucklander took his anger further by vandalising a K Rd poster.

A rash of groups calling for others to boycott buying adidas products grew hourly on Facebook yesterday, and internet message boards heated up.

Carolyn Farrell started the Facebook open group page "Boycott adidas" after being enraged that she could not buy a cheaper jersey online.

"I am extremely angry - how dare they do this to us? The cheek of it."

Mrs Farrell said she refused to buy a jersey until adidas changed their shipping policy or lowered the price in New Zealand. Last night the site had 321 members.

The 31 Rebel Sport stores would charge prices similar to those available overseas, said managing director Rod Duke. "Adidas for the time being are the sponsors of this jersey. They don't own it. We all do."

Customers who bought the jerseys at the original price would receive a certificate to make up the difference.

Champions of the World matched the Rebel price, despite director Gary Marshall saying each jersey would be sold at a loss.

- NZ Herald

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