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Sport chain's boom born of blisters
The idea to set up Marathon Sports, Hong Kong's first high-profile sports chain, wasn't born from brainstorming but with blisters.
"I did a lot of walking around those days trying to find a shop that supplied the right selection and sizes of athletic footwear,' recalled founder and ex-owner Andreas Blunier.
The chain is now owned by Swire Loxely, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swire Group, a large trading firm, here.
"Everywhere I went I found that people carried small sizes for the generally smaller Chinese foot. It was difficult to find anything larger than a size eight,' Blunier said. "Styles were also a problem. Running shoes, tennis shoes, forget it. After doing a lot of walking, I realized that if I stocked a range of sizes for these sports I'd have a good business.'
Blunier did, but growth was slow. The first Marathon Sports store opened in 1977. Six years later, there were only two.
And money did not exactly roll in. For years, the company …