RSH changes things up to move with the times

Homegrown sports retailer Royal Sporting House is sprucing up its offerings and the look of its stores to target a younger demographic, with consumers' behaviour having changed over the years.
Homegrown sports retailer Royal Sporting House is sprucing up its offerings and the look of its stores to target a younger demographic, with consumers' behaviour having changed over the years.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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

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

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 gear 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.

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.

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

The company also plans to partner brands like Saucony to hold running clinics and talks while 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.

"Consumers' behaviour has changed. Unless you innovate, you're going to fall behind. We've got a good core customer base who have been shopping all their life (with us).

"But with the fresh look, it will appeal to younger customers."

Despite new retailers like Decathlon coming into the local market, Westhead, 46, said: "What we're offering is a little different from them. 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 are no other competitors that have the size and offerings we have."

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

Dexter Tan, a 29-year-old interior designer, is worried that he would no longer find Caterpillar work shoes.

He joked: "I'd better get my boots before all the stores change."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'RSH changes things up to move with the times'. Print Edition | Subscribe