With the tide of public opinion turning firmly against Adidas, Rebel Sport is digging into its own pockets and showing it's on the side of consumers, not corporates.
All Black replica player jerseys, which cost between $190 and $220 in New Zealand, can be had for as little as half-price on overseas websites.
Not surprisingly, news that they were getting ripped off didn't go down well with regular Kiwis. However, Adidas to date has staunchly refused to back down.
But Rebel Sport – part of the NZ-owned Briscoe Group of companies – has stepped up to the plate.
Today Rebel Sport managing director Rod Duke said the chain would drop the prices on its rugby jerseys – the Rugby World Cup edition from $220 to $170 and the standard player shirt from $189.99 to $149.50.
"Yesterday afternoon I met with Adidas in an attempt to convince them to reduce the price down to a level below the online price," he said.
"They point blank refused to reduce the price by even one cent."
The discount is being entirely funded by Rebel Sport, he said.
"We happen to believe that this jersey belongs to the New Zealand rugby public ... We cannot have a situation where New Zealanders would pay more for All Black jerseys than almost any other country in the world. Quite frankly, this is an intolerable circumstance and we will not accept it.I just don't understand this position and have decided to make a stand for the benefit of the New Zealand sporting public."
More stock is being delivered to Rebel stores and Duke said customers should accept rain checks in the meantime.
People who had bought jerseys prior to the price reduction would be eligible for gift vouchers for the price difference with proof of purchase.
He said the Rugby World Cup was the biggest sporting event New Zealand had ever hosted and all Kiwis had the right to share in it.
"We know only too well that times are tough for many Kiwis," he said.
"We want no one to be disadvantaged."
In response, Adidas said the move demonstrates healthy competition.
New Zealand country manager David Huggett said he accepted that some retailers were upset it had chosen not to discount its wholesale price, but it was ultimately up to retailers to set market prices.
"We are receiving significant re-orders from retailers," he said.
Huggett said the availability of the jerseys from offshore suppliers online further extended customer choice.
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