Bolt wear selling like crazy

Published: Friday | August 28, 2009

Usain Bolt. - photos by Peta-Gaye Clachar/freelance Photographer

The following story was published in The Star on Tuesday

Usain Bolt may have stopped running for the past few days, but his latest performances are having significant impact on the local economy, especially for one company that manufactures leisure wear.

Sun Island has been reporting incredibly high volumes of sales of the Usain Bolt line of leisure wear, including T-shirts, polo shirts, caps and yoga pants since the world's fastest man set new records in Berlin. Things have been flying off the shelves "incredibly fast", said Amy White, manager of product development and design at Sun Island. "We've sold out our stock twice. As we produce, they're gone."

This week, at the company's retail outlet along Molynes Road in St Andrew, scores of customers - young and old - were observed buying armfuls of Usain Bolt T-shirts, caps, yoga pants, among other types of leisure wear.

Leisure wear

The company had entered into an agreement with Bolt to produce a line of leisure wear bearing the image and signature of the sprinting phenomenon following his exploits at the Olympics in Beijing, China, last year, when he won gold medals and set world records in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4x100 metres relays.

White revealed that as soon as Bolt set the new world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres last week Sunday afternoon, they set about creating designs and started producing shirts and other types of clothing. She said they even worked through the weekend, which is unusual for them. And as soon as they were done, local retailers and "people off the street" snapped them up.

Bolt, she said, was having a huge impact on the company's bottom line because, otherwise, sales had been slow, largely due to the state of the economy.

The Bolt factor also extends to other businesses as well. White said all the raw material that is used to manufacture the Bolt line of product is made locally, so his success was helping keep people in their jobs.

With that in mind, she hoped she would not see an end to the spike in sales anytime soon. However, realistically, she believed the current sales boost would last between two and four more weeks, by which time new designs for the Bolt line would be ready for sale.

The Bolt line, she said, had generally been successful, as there had been a steady flow of sales since its creation last year. The current spike, White said, was similar to what the company experienced following the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bolt has had a similar effect on products manufactured by his main sponsor, Puma, which reported that all the products that were taken to Berlin for the 12th IAAF World Championships sold out before the championships ended on Sunday.

Market research has also shown that since Bolt's exploits in Beijing in 2008, his media market value has been estimated at more than J$230 million, or more than US$320 million. The media market value is tantamount to the amount of money Bolt's main sponsors, Puma, would have to spend to get the amount of exposure equal to what Bolt has given them in the marketplace.

Pulse model André Swaby strikes the 'to the world' pose in one of the T-shirts from Usain Bolt's clothing line.

Annoman Singh in a souvenir shirt bearing Bolt's record times during the Olympics.

This says comfort and understated sexiness!