Jersey price 'absolutely fair': adidas

An adidas poster advertising the controversial Adidas All Blacks rugby jersey on Auckland's Karangahape Road has been recently defaced. Photo / Dean Purcell.
An adidas poster advertising the controversial Adidas All Blacks rugby jersey on Auckland's Karangahape Road has been recently defaced. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Global sporting goods company adidas tonight defended the price of its replica All Blacks jerseys as "absolutely fair and reasonable".

On TVNZ's Close Up programme adidas New Zealand manager David Huggett apologised to fans for the distraction the furore over the price of the jerseys has caused.

And managing director for the Pacific Greg Kerr said the company would not be cutting its prices.

The company had no control over the suggested retail price, and its pricing had not changed for three years, he said.

"If we look at our wholesale pricing, we believe that is fair and reasonable. The New Zealand dollar and the way it has moved has had a major impact as far as our pricing is concerned."

Earlier the company drew a gentle chiding from Prime Minister John Key who said he didn't want to tell adidas them how to run its business -- but "when you're in the hole, you should stop digging".

Adidas has come under widespread criticism from sports fans, former All Blacks and politicians.

Major sports stores including Rebel Sport yesterday slashed the price of two replica jerseys, after failing to persuade the company to drop its wholesale price.

Mr Key today said he did not want to tell adidas how to run its business, but added New Zealanders wanted to wear the jersey and were offended they could be bought cheaper online.

"The actions by Rebel Sport show you how sensitive people are and how much they want to embrace the World Cup," he said.

"I think realistically, I've always found when you're in the hole, you should stop digging."

Mr Key said adidas seemed to be selling to one market at a different price to another.

"Now Rebel Sports have taken the view they're going to eliminate their margin to effectively negate that. I guess it's a matter for adidas to make peace with their suppliers.

"But I think it's a shame that the New Zealand public are getting caught up in the middle of all this."

New Zealanders took a lot of pride from the jersey and wanted to support the All Blacks, but also wanted to pay a fair price.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew today said adidas was right not to drop the wholesale price.

"Not once they put it in the market, they've got a pricing strategy, it's very comprehensive ... anything they decide in New Zealand has to stick with their strategy in other markets and it's not as simple as looking at one pocket problem and dealing with it in isolation," he told Radio Sport.

"They've got to consider a wider range of issues and in the end we've said to them 'we don't expect you to tell us how to play test matches, we'll keep an eye on how things are going with our brand but ultimately the distribution and sale of our product in New Zealand is your expertise and we'll let you do it'."

Adidas was "in a very difficult position" as it could not openly criticise its retailers or release commercially sensitive information, Mr Tew said.

Meanwhile, sales of the replica jerseys have leapt following the price cut.

Rebel Sport owner Rod Duke today said there had been a noticeable increase in sales.

"They've gone particularly well, we announced it (the price drop) at 11 o'clock yesterday and through all Rebel Sport stores trading is very brisk."

The retailer knocked $50 off the price of the rugby World Cup replica All Blacks jersey, taking it to $170, while the standard All Blacks replica jersey was $30 cheaper at $149.50.

The row was sparked after the two shirts were listed on the website at US$89.99 ($110) and US$79.99 ($97.85) respectively, plus shipping.

Stirling Sports and Champions of the World matched the price cut by Rebel Sport, but Champions of the World managing director Gary Marshall said they would not be making a profit on the jerseys.

Mr Duke yesterday said he was upset adidas had refused to reduce its price.

"We happen to believe that this jersey belongs to the New Zealand public," he said.

"They don't own it. We all do. We cannot have a situation where New Zealanders would pay more for All Black jerseys than almost any other country in the world."


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