A Borders-based online retailer which supplies rugby kit to as far as Australia and the US is to expand its sporting portfolio after securing a major new partnership with global giant Intersport.
Sportswise (Borders), which trades as Rugbystore.co.uk, is also expanding its Peebles headquarters and workforce with six-figure funding support from Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.
The firm was established in 1974 as a high street retailer, with seven shops in the Borders and the north of England, trading under the Intersport banner.
The boom in out-of-town shopping during the 1990s saw it change direction with an increase in mail order business and the Rugbystore website was launched in 1999. It is now understood to be the largest independent online trader of rugby clothing and equipment in the world – shipping merchandise to countries including Canada, New Zealand and Russia.
The new contract will see the company develop a new website in order to become the exclusive host of Intersport’s online offering, holding and distributing its products throughout the UK. The deal also means the online specialist will increase its product range to encompass football, swimming, running and fitness on behalf of Intersport, which operates in 43 countries.
To help support the additional business, Sportwise will grow its design, online marketing and photography departments, as well as increase its stock warehouse capacity. Bosses hope to recruit about 15 additional staff.
The headquarters’ development has been funded by a £500,000 facility from Bank of Scotland and £82,000 grant funding from Scottish Enterprise.
Fraser Patterson, managing director of Rugbystore, said: “The expansion of our Peebles base and the amazing new facilities housed there will both continue to strengthen our relationship with Intersport and allow us to continue to build our reputation as providers of the highest quality sports merchandise in the UK.”