1st Quarter 2007
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Profile of Ronhill Sports: a leading UK supplier of running apparel
published in Issue 20, 1st Quarter 2007
Ronhill is one of the UK's leading suppliers of running and athletics apparel. The company was founded in 1970 by British athlete Ron Hill. Initially it operated as a mail order service for running apparel. But, following the success of this service, it diversified into retailing and the first Ron Hill Sports shop was opened in Hyde, Cheshire, UK, in 1975. Further growth was secured over the next 20 years by a boom in running in the UK during the 1980s and by the establishment of the London Marathon in 1981. In 1999 the company became part of the UK-based retail company OSC and in 2001 it was renamed Ronhill.
Today, Ronhill remains committed to the running and athletics market and operates through two services. One is a direct sales service which offers seven ranges for men, women, and children in high performance wear, low-impact activewear, accessories and high visibility wear. The other is its Ronhill Specials service, a bespoke service operated by UK-based Ridgeway Textiles which supplies over 500 clubs in the UK under a licence from Ronhill.
Each item produced by Ronhill is made using high performance fabrics. The properties imparted by these fabrics include moisture management, wind resistance, water resistance and freedom of movement. In developing these fabrics, Ronhill works closely with companies such as Cloverbrook — a UK-based sports fabric supplier.
The future looks promising for Ronhill. Sales in its 2006/07 financial year were healthy and a refocus on club running apparel should stand the company in good stead for further expansion into northern Europe and Eastern Europe. In addition, sales look set to be driven further by the company's recent extension into the women's and children's sports markets and the staging of the London Olympics in 2012.
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Performance apparel represents one of the fastest growing markets in the global textile and clothing industry--and market growth is being fuelled by an emergence of new fibres, fabrics and innovative materials. The market's growth prospects are also being spurred by increasing demand for performance properties in mainstream fashion.
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