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Catapult Deliver Knockout Investment Into Kick Sport

5 July 2011

Catapult Deliver Knockout Investment Into Kick Sport

Kick Sport - a leading martial arts retailer - has secured an £850k investment from the Catapult Growth Fund to accelerate the company’s plans for developing both the UK and key overseas markets.

The martial arts retail sector is still a relatively undeveloped market and, with the continuing rise in popularity of combat sports such as Taekwando, Judo and Karate, the Peterborough-based company is well placed to take advantage of this.

Richard Bucknell, Fund Principal of the Catapult Growth Fund commented: “Martial Arts participation is still fairly modest in the UK, with c. 4,000 clubs, and has significant scope to grow, when compared to countries in Europe and beyond. Much of the increase is anticipated to come from children, given the health and fitness, as well as discipline and self-confidence benefits that it brings. An illustration of this being the threefold increase in the number of Martial Arts classes in schools over the last five years.

“The company is looking to replicate the success of other specialist pastime and sports retailers who have used the web to provide tangible benefits to sports enthusiasts. Management is looking to establish the brand as the leading operator in this growing ‘niche’ market".

“This is a very exciting company with an exceptional management team, which is strengthened by the inclusion of John Donaldson as Non-Executive Chairman. John has a track record of developing management teams and helping them to fulfill their potential and that of the businesses. A former Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, he has Chaired a number of highly successful web businesses such as LateRooms, Holiday Autos and On the Beach.”

The company sells over 2,000 product lines including its own label clothing, alongside well known brand names such as Adidas, Nike and Mizuno, and Martial Arts specialist brands including Mooto and Daedo. In addition, to combat gear, the company is looking to extend its range of own brand leisure wear and accessories.

Chief Executive Cameron Knowles founded the company in 2009, initially targeting Taekwando club owners and instructors by phone and attending martial arts events and competitions. Today 80% of all Kick Sport sales come via the web and with over a quarter of revenues originating overseas.”

Cameron Knowles commenting on the growth prospects for the company said: “Kick Sport, unlike many of its competitors, holds stock of a very wide range of goods, ensuring great service for our customers.

He added: “The UK market should receive a significant boost from the forthcoming 2012 Olympics where Taekwando and Judo will be showcased, and where Britain has a number of great prospects for Olympic Gold. They include Sarah Stevenson, who won a gold medal at the recent Taekwondo World Championships staged in Korea; and Michael Harvey, who came away with silver.

“We’re all very excited about the prospects for the next few years and look forward to working with our new partners at Catapult to help us kick on from here.”