SiS revenues up 30% on online & international growth for UK-based sports nutrition player

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

'Overall our international revenues grew 49%, and very strong growth from online in general.' ©iStock
'Overall our international revenues grew 49%, and very strong growth from online in general.' ©iStock

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E-commerce and international expansion helped boost Science in Sport’s 2016 sales by 30%, as the firm signs a new British Cycling sponsorship deal and announces stricter banned substances testing in the wake of ongoing doping scandals across a plethora of sports.

SiS saw its revenues for last calendar year grow to £12.24m (€13.92m), and according to CEO Stephen Moon, half of the company’s sales were online, whether through retailers such as Amazon or Wiggle or through SiS’s own website, which saw sales double.

Moon said this tied into the firm’s international expansion: “When we look at our growth in Australia, a great deal of that business was conducted online. When we look at our business in Europe a great deal of that was conducted online. Overall our international revenues grew 49%, and very strong growth from online in general​.”

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SiS also today announced a stricter banned substances testing regime which will see every single batch of its products pre-screened against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances​, in addition to being certified by LGC-owned Informed-Sport.

This would involve "pre-production testing of ingredients based on risk based evaluation"; "full trace management of all raw materials from raw material base and suppliers"; "rigorous screening of all ingredient suppliers"​ and "swab testing and third-party inspection throughout the year"​ at its Lancashire, England facility.

"We are confident that this leading, full supply chain approach to preventing banned substances across our product range, is best in class in the sports nutrition industry. All of our athletes and teams, including elites and professionals, rely not only on the proven performance of the SIS range, but also the safety of its products," ​Moon said.

SiS supplies British professional cycling outfit, TeamSky, which in December had to answer questions in a British parliamentary inquiry about its use of prohibited substances via medical exemptions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for its then lead rider, Sir Bradley Wiggins. 


Italy & US focus in 2017

Following the successful launch of SiS’s Australian operation, the firm started operations in Italy, with Moon highlighting the very high density of cyclists in the country as a deciding factor. In parallel the firm has been working on its US operation, and the CEO said both markets will be a focus for 2017.

Italy’s up and running quite nicely, the website’s up, we’re listed on Amazon, we’ve picked up some retail distribution quite nicely. The US is now starting to turn the wheels, our own website’s up, we’re listed on Amazon and third party online websites, so we’re starting to see movement there​,” he said.

We obviously think the US market is substantial, but we need to approach it in quite a measured way – how we’ll do that is look at three or four very distinct hot spots within the USA, rather than trying to invest in marketing nationwide, because a few companies have come unstuck with that strategy​,” added Moon.

He said SiS planned to launch a number of other native-language websites across Europe, and was also looking at markets such as South Korea and Japan for future expansion.

Growth in protein

protein whey sports amino iStock JANIFEST

In terms of the product mix, Moon said protein was gaining greater prominence: “What we are seeing in our consumers, the endurance athlete in the last couple of years has got very switched on to the fact that protein has a large role in recovering after exercise.

In general, while powders and gels and hydration tablets are still growing quite strongly, we’re doing more and more business in protein, as the athlete gets used to the idea of protein in their repertoire​,” he added.

Cycling deal engages with elites & members

On the sponsorship deal with British Cycling, Moon said SiS was looking forward to engaging with the body’s 130,000 members, as well as the sport’s elite athletes.

One of the things that perked our interest initially was that when we talked to British Cycling initially, they told us one of the most visited pages on their website was the nutrition page. So that was of immediate interest – you’ve got quite an engaged audience already​,” he said, adding that SiS rolled out its first members’ offer last week.

For the elites, Moon said SiS would be working directly with cyclists in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympiad: “There’s a very good nutrition and performance team up at the Manchester velodrome. We’re focusing on all the cycling teams – BMX, Paralympics, and the Great Britain track team, so we’ve started to work with all the athletes and their nutritionists to start to develop a nutrition programme for the next four years, not just the next year​.”

SiS shares were trading up 5.8% at 82.52p (€0.93) on the London Stock Exchange today.

The company's full-year financial results are not available until April. 

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