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How Tu touched down to success with NFL

The Source chats to Tu’s Nina Deakin about the growing demand for product in-store.

Sport is an increasingly important sector for Sainsbury’s Tu clothing label and, in a growing market, the National Football League (NFL), is one of the leading brands. This is something that is highlighted with the growth in the range of NFL products that will be available this coming autumn.

The ongoing agreement with the NFL gives Tu the exclusive rights to sell NFL apparel in the supermarket space here in the UK. The first collection of eight skus launched in summer 2017 focusing on generic NFL imagery – with sales now exceeding £1 million, a range that clearly chimed with the Tu customer.

“NFL is still one of our biggest searches online and it is clear that there is an appetite for it from both NFL fans and our consumers,” says Nina Deakin, jersey and knitwear buyer at Tu.


To meet this demand, and in time for regular London hosted NFL games in the autumn, Tu launched a second, much larger collection of 40 skus that focuses on the teams themselves, online in September and in-store from October this year.

31 of the 32 teams have allowed their colours and badges to be used on product and it is this level of authenticity that Nina thinks will further strengthen the appeal: “Tu is now a destination for NFL product here in the UK and being able to offer the teams gives us a lot more flexibility on the brand.”

Nina explains that consumers are now looking to Tu to help build the NFL brand across different product categories.

“In addition, and for the first time, the NFL collection will include caps and accessories from New Era to merchandise on-plinth alongside the core apparel range from Poetic Brands.”


Looking further ahead, and as a long-term partner of NFL, Nina sees great opportunity for Tu. “As NFL becomes more popular in the UK, Tu’s exclusivity can resonate across a much broader range of products and age ranges,” she says.

Nina explains that while the initial collections focus on adults, there is also plenty scope to develop NFL into younger ages and an opportunity in gifting outside of clothing.

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2018 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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