Les Saunders from Harrod UK

Olympic Games helps Lowestoft firm Harrod UK to shift the goal posts

By Ben Woods Business writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
11.00 AM

A Lowestoft-based sports equipment company has vowed to strengthen its global presence after heralding a “fantastic year” boosted by its role in the Olympic Games.

Harrod UK was awarded the lucrative contract of being the single supplier for football and hockey equipment to the London 2012 tournament, which it said has helped increase its market share by 7pc.

The move has paved the way for the company to explore new export opportunities, including the chance to supply equipment to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Les Saunders, sales and marketing manager of Harrod UK, said the company had recorded a turnover of £12m this year.

He said: “It has been a fantastic year for ‘made in Britain’ as UK manufacturers were able to be directly involved in the Olympic Games.

“For our export business, and in the worldwide market place, we have already had inquiries for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“Competition is tough in the UK market place, but the fact that we can keep shifting our goal posts is quite an achievement.

“Now we want to make our export market more robust. The Olympic Games has opened up lots of markets to us, and we have had interest from all over the world.

“This is a success story, but we need to turn that into business and our aim is to access markets in the Middle East, Australia and mainland Europe.”

The equipment Harrod UK supplied for the 2012 Olympic Games included goals, nets and shelters for football, hockey, paralympic football and wheelchair rugby.

It comes after the company, which employs 130 staff, supplied equipment for the UEFA Euro 2012 football championships, and the equipment for the St George’s Park National Football Centre, opened this year by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Harrod UK was first founded by Ron Harrod in 1954 when he used skills from the local fishing industry to convert herring nets into garden netting. The company has been based at the south Lowestoft industrial estate for 31 years.