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Sochi Organizers Did a Terrible Job Stocking Olympic Souvenirs

Sochi Organizers Did a Terrible Job Stocking Olympic Souvenirs
Image credit: Dmitry Medvedev

While spectators have converged on Sochi from far and wide to witness this year’s Olympics, many will be leaving the Games without so much as a lousy T-shirt.

Organizers grossly underestimated merchandising opportunities -- with just one superstore on Olympic Park premises and only a handful of other stands throughout that are surprisingly nondescript, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The sole superstore, operated by Russian retailer and chief Sochi licensee Bosco di Ciliegi, counts waits outside of up to two hours, and visitors are grumbling about a paltry offering and steep prices.

One Russian customer balked to The Journal about a children’s jacket priced at almost $700.

Related: 10 Things I Learned While Training for the Olympics That Absolutely Apply to Business

Even Bosco itself admits to the miscalculation. “We definitely underestimated the interest in this during the Games, and in Russia generally,” the retailer’s vice president of marketing, Olga Chernosvitova, told The Journal.

Sochi’s organizing committee is forecasting roughly $30 million in revenue from 55 total partners and an assortment of 5,000 different products. The London Olympics in 2012, by comparison, generated more than four times as much -- $130 million from 10,000 licensed items.

While Russia spent an estimated $51 billion on infrastructure, its licensing business is relatively underdeveloped -- and culturally, Russians are less apt to seek out souvenirs, Chernosvitova said.

And ironically, a large majority of sales are taking place far from the Olympic hub. A superstore more than 1,000 miles away in Moscow is accounting for half of all Bosco sales, while Sochi revenues represent just 15 percent of overall sales, The Journal noted.

Related: 3 Social Media Lessons from the Olympics

Geoff Weiss is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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