Royal Sporting House spruces up its offerings to target a younger demographic

Royal Sporting House, which started with its first store at Lucky Plaza in 1977, has revamped its image and its product offerings to appeal to younger customers.
Royal Sporting House, which started with its first store at Lucky Plaza in 1977, has revamped its image and its product offerings to appeal to younger customers. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - Soon, the blue banner that is synonymous with Royal Sporting House will be no more. It will turn to black.

The home-grown sports retailer, which started with its first store at Lucky Plaza in 1977, has revamped its image and its product offerings to appeal to younger customers.

The changes have been rolled out at six of its 28 outlets so far, including VivoCity, Clementi Mall, Causeway Point and its flagship store at Tanglin Mall.

Instead of offering a wide variety of brands, the firm has streamlined its sports brands to focus on running, tennis, swimming and functional training.

It boasts the largest selection of Speedo swimming gears in Singapore, including the Speedo Fastskin, which caters mostly to competitive swimmers.

Mixed martial arts and combat sports outfits like Ultimate Fighting Championship shirts and caps are available too.

Among the new services offered at its flagship store will be a running treadmill and gait analysis, as well as free tennis racquet stringing services by two in-house tennis specialists.

The company also plans to partner brands like Saucony to hold running clinics and talks, and yoga sessions are also in the pipeline.

Of the blue signboard that will go down in history, Royal Sporting House's chief executive officer (Asia-Pacific) David Westhead said: "That was more of an 1980s feel. We wanted to refresh the store, but the DNA of the store still remains the same.

"When I joined (the company) two years ago, I felt it was time to upgrade the store and innovate because consumers' behaviour has changed. Unless you innovate, you're going to fall behind.

"My priority was to make this the best multi-sport retailer across Singapore and South-east Asia.

"We've got a good core customer base who have been shopping all their life at Royal Sporting House. But with the fresh look, it will appeal to younger customers."

On the rising popularity of competing sporting goods retailer Decathlon into the local market in recent years, Mr Westhead, 46, said: "What we're offering is a little different from them.

"We don't do cycling or canoeing products. But if you want international brands with high technology, come to Royal Sporting House.

"When it comes to international brands, we're the largest and there's no other competitors that have the size and offerings that we have."

While customers welcomed the new look, some rued the products that are no longer available because of the revamp.

Mr Dexter Tan, a 29-year-old interior designer, could not find Caterpillar work shoes and he joked: "I'd better get my boots before all the stores change."

Housewife Stephanie Cheung, 45, welcomed the changes. She said: "It doesn't look so disorderly anymore. Previously, it looks like a jumble sale. But it seems more hip and it has more energy now. Teenagers are drawn to this kind of feel."