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Why Huddersfield Town are big in Japan - and 85 other countries

Merchandise sales going global - and why star quality is important

Sir Patrick Stewart at the Huddersfield premier of his film Logan held at the Odeon cinema, Huddersfield. Sir Patrick chats with Sean Jarvis of Huddersfield Town.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Huddersfield Town can claim to be a truly global brand after selling merchandise to fans as far afield as Japan, Ethiopia, Greenland and every nation in South America.

The club is breaking new ground for online sales which have rocketed since promotion to the Premier League, particularly in the United States and China.

Club director Sean Jarvis revealed that retail sales in July this year were higher than the whole of last year – and sales have continued at the same level since the summer.

Online merchandise sales have grown around 120% since Town gained promotion in May.

Huddersfield Town shirts for 2017-18 from left: Steve Mounie, Laurent Depoitre and Mathias Zanka Jorgensen.(Image: © John Early)

After the UK, the biggest markets are the United States followed by China, Australia, Germany and Canada, with Denmark not far behind thanks to interest in Town’s Danish players.

Customers in nearly 85 countries have now purchased Town gear online, including fans in South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Tasmania, Japan, Russia, Ethiopia and Greenland.

“The interest from the USA and China is phenomenal,” said Mr Jarvis.

“We have gone from a few orders (pre-promotion) to approaching thousands of items.”

The US now accounts for around 5-6% of online merchandise sales, with buyers concentrated in California, New York and Florida.

“The sales figures for the US surprised me,” he added.

“There is a growing appetite for English football in the US. The growth in the international markets follows the TV deals done around the world.”

Mr Jarvis credits the boost in sales to media/TV exposure but also to the influence of ex-pats including Mirfield-born Sir Patrick Stewart.

Sir Patrick Stewart at the Huddersfield premier of his film Logan held at the Odeon cinema, Huddersfield.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

“You cannot underestimate ex-pats who have been buying and wearing the shirts with a sense of civic pride. Patrick Stewart is a global superstar who has helped raise our profile.”

On the Chinese market, he said: “It was almost non-existent last year but now we are selling hundreds of items. The majority of sales are shirts. Possibly this is down to our shirt sponsorship and British football on Chinese TV.”

Town are not about to rest on their laurels when it comes to capitalising on the club’s Premier League status.

The commercial department has been in talks with UK Government officials about further boosting sales across the globe, with an emphasis on China and the US.

“We have been speaking to business experts about how we can continue to sell our merchandise and are taking tips from digital experts on how we can sell merchandise online using sites in the Middle East and in China. “We are not resting on our laurels. We know we have to make hay while the sun shines.”

The only downside has been the lack of availability of some merchandise, including Town shirts, which has left fans frustrated.

The club says its will release full details early next week on when new stock will arrive.

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