Brisk jersey sales mirror Germany's fine run

When Mats Hummels scored the goal to send Germany into the World Cup semi-finals, it was celebrated not just by their fans but also by sports apparel store owners.

The three-time champions' fine run in Brazil have kept the cash registers ringing, as Singapore football fans flocked to purchase the traditional white-and-black jersey, making it the most popular national team jersey during this World Cup period.

The cost of a World Cup jersey ranges from $99 (S$123.36) to $159, with the printing of players' names and numbers available for an additional $40.

Sporting goods store Weston Corporation's sales director Rajbir Singh declined to reveal exact sales figures among his four outlets, but admitted that Germany jerseys were sold "in the thousands".

That was echoed by Gurbachan Singh, the manager of Salam & Sons, which has two outlets at Queensway Shopping Centre.

"We initially ordered about 150 pieces but that sold out quickly, so we had to get more pieces in to cater to the demand," said Gurbachan, 63.

The jerseys of surprise packages Colombia and Costa Rica have also caught on with Singapore fans, with Weston having to order more sets of Colombia star striker James Rodriguez's name prints after its initial stock of 20 pieces ran out.

While these teams' jerseys have been flying off the shelves, the same cannot be said for those of deposed world champions Spain.

Sales of their jerseys have slowed tremendously, with only one jersey sold daily as compared to 10 before their elimination in the group stage, said Gurbachan.

Added Rajbir: "It's always a gamble when it comes to bringing in jerseys during major tournaments.

"You can't afford to err on the side of caution and lose out on business if they do well."

Besides a team's performance, fans may also warm to a well-designed jersey.

For example, Gurbachan said that despite Japan crashing out in the group stage, their home and away kits are still selling well because of its striking design and colours.

Another team whose shirt designs swayed the opinions of customers at Weston's four stores were Iran.

"We didn't know what we were buying at first because there were no preview pictures of the Iranian jerseys," recounted Rajbir, who brought in 400 pieces of their home and away kits.

"But when people eventually saw it, they liked its design, which has a tiger on the front of the jersey, and snapped it up."

Importing these jerseys are not as easy as picking up the phone and placing an order, said Rajbir.

He had set himself the target of securing the kits of all 32 teams, but nearly fell at the final hurdle when Bosnia changed their kit suppliers.

Having placed an order directly with their previous supplier, he scrambled to make an order with current suppliers adidas.

Even then, he could only bring in the players' edition jerseys, which cost $60 more than the replica ones usually sold in stores.

He has, however, managed to sell off most of the Bosnian shirts.

For now, he is already looking ahead to the new English Premier League season.

"There will always be a spillover effect after the World Cup where people still buy the international kits, so I'm not worried at all," said Rajbir.

This article was first published on July 6, 2014.
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