Name: B-Sporting (Sportsshoes.com)
Industry/sector: Retail and related services
Date founded: 1982
The boss: Brett Bannister
Location: Yorkshire and the Humber
Latest turnover: £33.5m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 44.57
Latest EBITDA: £2.6m
In recent years, it’s become quite normal for sports stars to move into the world of business. We’ve had Wimbledon ace Andy Murray give crowdfunding a try and observed the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Maria Sharapova be named among the five best and five worst athletes to move into enterprise.
Arguably ahead of the curve, however, was former footballer Bruce Bannister who played for Bradford City and Bristol Rovers in the 60s and 70s. Upon retirement, he started B-Sporting – still the company’s holding name – which was rebranded to Sportsshoes.com when son Brett ascended to the top as managing director.
“We’re a family business. In 1982, my father Bruce Bannister set up the company to provide specialist sports gear for real sportspeople and we remain utterly focused on his objectives to this day,” he said.
According to Bannister, the firm has sold around two million pairs of shoes since it started – a feat likely aided as the company guarantees to “beat any other price on the web”.
With a HQ in Shipley, shoes, clothes and equipment from brands including Adidas, Asics, Nike, Puma, Under Armour and more are distributed in thousands of parcels each week.
When Brett took over leadership of the company, he put a large focus on digital which has seen the company’s web traffic continue to surge upwards. As such, the store that father Bruce opened in 1982 was closed down in 2012 and the 14 members of staff were offered the chance to transfer to the distribution centre.
At the time, Bruce said: “As a Yorkshire businessman, born and bred in Bradford, I’m passionate about my home city and the store is close to my heart. So it is with great regret that we have to announce the closure of our Sportsshoes retail unit.”
But with more than 9,000 products available to choose from online, the team of 125 is delivering to over 100 countries. The online focus has enabled the business to record a revenue of £33.5m with a CAGR of 44.57 per cent.