Home-grown sports retailer Sportslink goes out of business

Sportslink was a hit with heartlanders because of its reasonable pricing. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Home-grown sports retail chain Sportslink wound up last Friday (July 3) after accumulating debts to a "substantial number" of creditors.

This includes employees who are owed a month's salary, Farooq Mann, founder and director of Mann & Associates, the court-appointed liquidator, told The Straits Times.

"I will convene a creditors' meeting within the next two weeks to notify them that the company has gone into liquidation, to disclose to them the affairs of the company, and to invite them to file claims," said Mr Mann on Monday.

On June 9, Adidas Singapore had filed an application with the High Court for the winding up of Sportslink. When contacted before Friday's decision, Adidas declined to comment.

The news of Sportslink's liquidation comes barely two weeks after it announced its reopening in a June 22 Facebook post following the easing of circuit breaker measures on June 19.

The measures, which were implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus, saw retail stores across the country shut from April 7.

Founded in 1983 by the late Mr Lim Kau Tee as Sports Interlink, a single store in Queensway Shopping Centre, the company was registered as a sole proprietorship four years later with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) as Sportslink.

Sports Link Holdings (SLH) was later registered in 1994.

Sportslink, which sold sporting goods and apparel from international brands, was a hit with heartlanders because of its reasonable pricing. It extended its reach to suburban malls in 1995 and by 2002, the chain had expanded its footprint to 11 outlets. This grew to 35 by 2015, by which time the company also boasted 190 employees.

But in a Facebook post announcing its Chinese New Year operating hours on Jan 22, only nine outlets, including a factory outlet, were listed.

In 2010, SLH also opened several speciality stores, such as Hoops Factory, which was the first basketball speciality store in Singapore.

When ST visited Hoops Factory and Intersports - two brands under SLH's banner - at Queensway Shopping Centre on Wednesday, both stores were shuttered.

Stocks of sports apparel were still stacked on shelves, and posters of sales of up to 50 per cent were plastered on the walls of the entrances.

Mr Mann noted that all intellectual property assets of SLH such as these are also "being looked at".

Former patron Trevor Sim said he used to visit Sportslink outlets "quite frequently" in the 2000s, but less so in the last 10 years.

"It's sad to hear of a local brand going out of business," said the 42-year-old executive, who is an avid runner.

"Sportslink used to be the go-to when you needed quality sports equipment at low prices, and at short notice, because they had so many outlets."

"I don't know what caused them (to wind up) but perhaps people having so many more options now, especially online, could have contributed."

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