Speedo: Leading the Swimwear Market

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR327
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2002-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Speedo International Limited
Industry : Swimwear
Countries : UK; Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Speedo has shown great willingness to experiment in more innovative ways over the past few years and its image has progressed as a cooler, more fashionable brand. It has remained true to its quality swimwear and performance heritage, so its experimentation in brave new directions hasn't compromised its core brand."1

- Ben Lilley, chief executive of SMART Inc2 in 2005.

"Speedo is the Kleenex of swimwear."3

- Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of NPD Group, Inc.4 in 2008.

"It's not often that Nike runs from a fight. But in the battle of high-tech swimsuits, give Speedo a victory by technical knockout." 5

- Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 2008.


In September 2008, US-based sportswear manufacturer Nike Inc. announced its decision to exit the elite swimwear market, saying, "We will not invest in next-generation swim innovation, which is not in line with our stated category growth strategy."6

Though Nike denied it and said that the decision was a "part of the company's long-term growth plan", some experts felt that the move was due to the unprecedented success of Speedo International Limited (Speedo) and its growing dominance in the elite swimwear category.

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1] Full Speedo Ahead," www.mad.co.uk, June 7, 2005.
2] MART is an Australian advertising agency with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Queensland.
3] Keith Naughton, "Making a Splash," www.newsweek.com, June 30, 2008.
4] The NPD Group, Inc. (formerly National Purchase Diary) is a leading global market research company. It is headquartered in Port Washington, New York, with offices across the US, Europe, Japan, and the UK.
5] "Leftovers: Speedo Leaves Nike in its Wake," www.lvrj.com,September 24, 2008.
6] "Nike to Exit Elite Swimwear Market," www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, September 23, 2008.

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