April 3, 2018

By Matthew Elmas

PAS Group has linked a deal with Russell Athletic that will see its wholesale arm Designworks take over the product design, sourcing and marketing of the brand to its retail partners fromĀ 2019 onwards.

The deal with further expand Designworks’ portfolio of sportswear brands, which includes Lonsdale, Slazenger and Dunlop.

The 100-plus-year old Russell Athletic was founded in America in the early 1900s and today is a division of the larger Russell Corporation, which also owns Sherrin and Spalding in Australia.

The Russell Athletic brand is already stocked by the likes of Rebel, SportsCo, Inter Sport and Sports Power in Australia, as well as operating its own online store.

The addition of Russell Athletic is likely one of the brand expansions flagged by PAS Group chief executive Eric Morris in January when the business downgraded its earnings guidance on difficulties over Christmas.

Designworks has also just started distributing UK-based sportswear brand Lonsdale in Australia and also secured a tender to supply Coles supermarkets with a new range of apparel for its women’s mix program.

Although Morris said in January that the Coles deal, which is slated to deliver $15 – 20 millionĀ in revenue annually from FY19, would do little to put its wholesale arm on better footing in FY18, following its 9.5 per cent decline in revenue last financial year.

“Unfortunately, a lot of things don’t necessarily effect this financial year, there’s a small element of Lonsdale that comes into this year, but the big full-year effect is FY19, Coles also comes into FY19 – from a future perspective there’s a lot happening,” he explained in January.

“In apparel it takes time.”