The merchandise

Football: Leicester City's jerseys sold out worldwide

Leicester City's club store revealed that its home, away and third kit had sold out "weeks ago" and it is the first time the shop had ran out of stock.
Leicester City's club store revealed that its home, away and third kit had sold out "weeks ago" and it is the first time the shop had ran out of stock.PHOTO: REUTERS

With Leicester City closing in on the English Premier League (EPL) title, it seems like the best time for the football club to cash in on the overwhelming demand for jerseys.

But as The Sunday Times found out, the Foxes' strip had sold out worldwide.

The club's store revealed that its home, away and third kit had sold out "weeks ago" and it is the first time the shop had ran out of stock.

Only the children's away jersey and the blue socks for the home strip are still available. The store added that there will not be any further production of the 2015-2016 jerseys.

Stocks of shirts have also run dry on JC Sports, the club's official retailer.

David Chatwani, who runs JC Sports, told the Leicester Mercury newspaper that they had sold 3,000 adult shirts - twice of what they shifted in the previous season when Leicester finished 14th.

While shirt manufacturers Puma declined to reveal how many Leicester jerseys they had produced for this campaign, a study done by a sports marketing consultancy revealed that EPL heavyweights Manchester United averaged a whopping 1.49 million shirts a year from the 2009-2010 season to the 2013-2014 season.

In Singapore, sporting goods retailer Weston Corporation revealed that their initial stock of 300 Leicester home and away jerseys were sold out by mid-January.

While some fans turn to online marketplaces like eBay or Carousell, prices are often marked up, and it is difficult to verify the authenticity of the product.

For example, a XXL-sized Jamie Vardy shirt, which comes with a certificate of authenticity, is currently listed for £229.99 (S$449) on eBay, with an additional £35 postage fee.

"Six months before a kit launches, the brands will look at factors like past sales trends, the club's popularity and the likelihood of winning titles to determine the sales forecast before they place orders with factories," revealed an industry expert.

In Singapore, shirt orders for more popular clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are placed in batches of 3,500 to 4,500.

As Leicester's success has taken everyone by surprise, it is unlikely that allowances would have been made for further production of shirts.

"Brands will never hold buffer stock for the less popular teams. And due to production lead times, you can never replenish it quick enough if you don't have enough stock," said the expert.

"Some clubs only get one order window because they are not popular, so the factory produces that one and only batch. They shut down that line and produce something more profitable."

It looks like fans will have to wait until next season before the production lines start manufacturing Leicester jerseys again for a hungry market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline 'Jerseys sold out worldwide'. Print Edition | Subscribe