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Why a unique Product Classification Key for the entire industry?

The various companies of our industry are working more and more with different IT supported merchandise handling systems.

In order to use these electronic systems in an optimal way they are already today linked in network and electronic communication will surely become even more important in the years to come. Electronically communication is not only a subject within the individual companies and business groups, but also within entire industries as well as with enterprises outside of the industry.

Setting up a network of IT (Information Technology) systems only makes sense if the data required within the industry are gathered once at one source and then transmitted between the IT systems directly or with a minimum amount of manually processing (EDI = Electronic Data Interchange). For example, in order to transmit article data it is important that one can depend on industry standards. In this way, additional internal processing to translate external data into internal formats (manually or with conversion tables) can be avoided.

One example of this is the Product Classification Key. If this key is not uniform and definite it must always be translated manually into the internal Product Classification Key of each company before the data can be included into the internal IT systems. This is often done with the help of a conversion table.

So far each producer, supplier, etc. has his own Product Classification Key. Therefore this job has to be repeated frequently.

A uniform and unique Product Classification Key makes these jobs unnecessary. Therefore it was the goal of FEDAS to develop a uniform and unique Product Classification Key for the sports retail industry.
An additional advantage of a uniform Product Classification Key is the information contained in the key. If desired, it permits to make a unique and comparable analysis of the turnover of the various countries, regions, groups, etc.

Based on the experience made by the user during a first period, the key has been updated and optimised accordingly and a new Version 2.0 was launched in October 2002.

In order to transmit article and order data between two IT systems one needs a unique article numbering (SKU's) concept. The EAN-13 is generally accepted worldwide. Even bigger companies of the sports industries already use this numbering system. Therefore this numbering system, which is implemented worldwide, should clearly be used by the entire sports industry.

The EAN is an Identification Key for articles on the so called SKU level (Stock Keeping Unit) which means that an article is a variation of a model in a certain size and color (color combination), also known as consumer unit.

The EAN concept is a numbering system with the following advantages:

a) uniform/integrated
b) clear/definite
(worldwide no other article with the same article number)
c) branch overlapping
d) international
e) Bar Coding

With a standardisation of the Product Classification Key and the Article Numbering System a big step has be taken towards the implementation of data transmission between the IT systems. This leads to a more optimal use of the IT investments.

Standardising of additional codes, as for example size ranges (shoes, clothes, etc.) would be a further step within the optimising process.

In this context the Product Classification Key and the Article Numbering have to be treated with priority.

© FSO (FEDAS Standardisation Organisation)

Further information concerning the FEDAS Product Classification Key can be found on the FEDAS Web Page ( The Web functionality also give you the possibility to download the key in various format.
Copying the FEDAS Product Classification Key is not allowed. 

FSO office:     Laupenstrasse 5a, P.O. Box 5226, CH-3001 Bern, 
                       Phone: +41-31-3819361 / Fax: +41-31- 382 02 42. 
                       Internet: / 

The Administration of the Key 

FSO is in charge of the administration of the key. Should there be the need of opening new groups, FSO has to be informed. FSO will then decide if this need is justified and then this request will be integrated in the existing system.
An international task force represented by various companies of our industry (manufacturer and retailer) is meeting regularly to discuss the requests and updates.



The objective of FSO was to define a Product Classification Key (PCK) with a logical structure. This is the reason why the new Product Classification Key (PCK) was defined with a structure showing the activity code, the product type as well as the main and sub product groups.

The FEDAS product classification key is a numerical six-digit code with the following structure:

Position Description

1         Product type (Hardware, Footwear, Textiles)

2 - 3    Activity code (type of sports)

4 - 5    Product Maingroup of the activity

6         Product Subgroup

Chart 2

So far the structure of the product classification key (chart 2) allows an evaluation according to the product types Hardware, Textile and Footwear as well as according to activities, which is identical to the structure of a sports shop. The further structuring of product maingroups and product subgroups allows the detailed evaluation of an optimal processing system.


In this paragraph you will find an example for Hardware, Textile and Footwear showing how these products are coded.

Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Product type (PT)

The first digit of the product classification key is reserved for the product type.

This part of the code enables the grouping as well as the interpretation of the ranges "Textile", "Hardware" and "Footwear". As a maximum of 10 product types (0 - 9) is planned in this range, we therefore still have 6 product types free for additional allocation.

The free codes/digits are planned for other ranges as follows:

a) Kat. 5 = Services (Service work & rental service)
Only used by the commerce. Proposal of structure within the
Product Main Groups and Product Subgroups are available on the Internet.

b) Kat. 9 = Product types, which are not key activities of sports shops,
but are sold by some INTERSPORT shops (i.e. travelling arrangements,
movies/photo articles, toys, tools, etc.).

Activity code (AC)

As mentioned in the beginning, the product classification key has to be structured according to the activities. The second and third digits are reserved for the activity field.
Since the code has been defined as a numerical field, 99 activity codes are available. The experiences have shown us, that these codes cover the need at the moment, but do not leave a big reserve for additional codes.
Many products are listed in different activity fields (type of sports). In order to get optimal management information not only for a product group of all activity fields, but also within a single activity field (type of sports), the activity code is integrated as part of the product classification key.
For products that cannot be put fix in an activity field (type of sports), that means that this product can be used for several type of sports, the activity field "Multisport" will be used.

As already mentioned, this activity code will have two digits. The individual activities are structured as follows:

Activity (group)                                                                             Activity (examples)
Working concept                     Code-Range                                   Name                                 Code

Multisport                                00

Snow and Ice                           01 - 14                                          Alpine skiing                         01 
                                                                                                  Cross country skiing              02 
                                                                                                  etc. until 
                                                                                                  Leisure/Fashion Winter          14

Water Sports                           15 - 21                                          Swimming                            15 
                                                                                                  Surfing                                 16 
                                                                                                  etc. until 
                                                                                                  Kayak/Canoeing                    21

Racket Sports                         24 - 27                                          Tennis                                  24 
                                                                                                  Squash                                25 
                                                                                                  etc. until 
                                                                                                  Table tennis                          27

Ball / Team Sports                  32 - 38                                           Soccer                                 32 
                                                                                                  Basketball                            33 
                                                                                                  etc. until 
                                                                                                  Floorball / 
                                                                                                  Field hockey                         38

Track & Field Sports               45 - 56                                           Walking / Nordic Walk.          45 
                                                                                                  Running                               46 
                                                                                                  Track-and-field sports            47 
                                                                                                  etc. until 
                                                                                                  Triathlon                               56

Wheel Sports                         60 - 62                                           Bike                                     60 
                                                                                                  Funwheel sports                    62

Outdoor Activities                   64 - 75                                           Mountaineering/Hiking            64 
                                                                                                 Camping                                67 
                                                                                                 etc. until 
                                                                                                 Leisure/Fashion Summer        75

Indoor Sports                          78 - 88                                          Fitness / Workout                  78 
                                                                                                 Boxing                                  80 
                                                                                                 etc. until 
                                                                                                 Various games                      88

PR & Promotion activities                                                                                                       98

List 1

These activity groups are just working concepts and not identified by own codes. This structure opens also the possibility of evaluating only these activity groups. The list of the individual activities can be found in chapter 2.

The structure of the first 3 digits of the product classification key shown so far permits providing information and evaluation of the whole activity as well as within a product type (e.g. Hardware).

Product Maingroups (PMGr)

By a further division into product main groups and product subgroups information can be prepared which is closer to the product.
Product Maingroups (PMGr), Hardware

In Hardware, the product main groups are defined according to the individual requirements of the respective activities. Similar activities (e.g. racket sports activities: tennis, squash, badminton, ...) have been structured identically.

As for product main groups existing for several activities, the same activity code is used. This product main group was blocked for other activities, in order to guarantee a definite statistical evaluation.

One example is "balls" which exist in various sports activities. For balls, the product main group 88 was reserved. Therefore an evaluation of the product main group "can be obtained for "balls" of one activity, several activities or all activities.

So far, the following product main groups have been defined for Hardware (i.e. the code for the product group has been reserved).

70 = Carving skis
71 = Skis systems
72 = Special skis
73 = Alpine skiing poles
74 = Alpine skiing bindings
75 = Touring-/Telemark-binding.acc.
79 = Fan articles
80 =
... = Vacant
83 = Leisure bags
84 = Sacs / Small bags
85 = Golfbags / Bike bags
86 = Bottles
87 = Mats / Matresses
88 = Balls (Pucks)
89 = Bags
90 = Backpacks
91 = Ski covers + binding covers
92 = Helmets / Face protection
93 = Protectors
94 = Eye protectors
95 = Watches / Measure / Search-devices
96 = Tools, Care, Repair items
97 = Literature, videos, films
98 = Shoes accessories
99 = Various items/Accessories ---> Code 99 is also used in the
respective product type
in textile.

List 2
Product Maingroups (PMGr), Textile

The structure of the product maingroup Textile was structured according to the human body. Therefore, the Textile products (product maingroups) are defined from the head (headgear) to the feet (stockings), as well as from the "innerwear" (underwear) to the outerwear.

The following list shows the fix product main groups of the product type "Textile":

Product Product
maingroup number maingroup description

01 – 59 Standard Clothing/Textile

01 Caps / Hats / Peak caps
02 Headbands / sun screens
03 Scarves / Shawls
04 Gloves
05 Sports bra
06 Undershirt
07 Underpants
08 Panty hose
09 Underwear / Set
10 Bodies (Underwear)
11 Bustier / Tops
12 T-Shirts / Tanks
13 Shirts
14 Blouses
15 Polos
20 Turtlenecks with zip
21 Turtlenecks without zip
25 Pullovers
26 Pullunders
27 Sweatshirts
28 Under jackets (cardigan) jackets
29 Hooded sweatshirts
31 Overalls / Bodies
32 Leisure suits
33 Track suits
34 Jackets / Blazers
35 3:1 jackets
36 Blousons
37 Jackets / Anoraks
38 Multi function jackets
39 Windbreaker
40 Waistcoats (vests)
41 Coats
42 Ponchos
43 Track pants long
44 Jet-/ Racing pants
45 Stretch pants
46 Bib/Strap pants
47 Pants long
48 Pants 3/4 to 7/8
49 Knickerbockers
50 Bermudas
51 Shorts
52 Hot Pants / Briefs
53 Tights
54 Dresses
55 Skirts
56 Pantskirts
59 Socks / Stockings / Stirrups

60 – 69 Bathingcloths

60 Bathing- / Showering caps
61 Bikinis
62 Bikini top
63 Bikini pants
64 Swimsuits
65 Swimsuits supported
66 Swim-bermudas
67 Swimshorts
68 Swimming trunks
69 Swimming suits

70 – 79 Replica

70 Fan-Headgear
71 Fan-T-Shirts / Polos
72 Fan-Tricots
73 Fan-Sweat / Top part
74 Fan-Jackets / Waistcoats
75 Fan-Rainwear
76 Fan-Pants
77 Fan-Suits
78 Fan-various textiles
79 Fan-Accessories

80 – 88 Rainclothing

80 Rain jackets
81 Rain pants
82 Rain ponchos
83 Rain coats
84 Rain overalls
85 Rain combinations
88 Rain hats

90 – 98 Team and Referee clothing

90 Tricots / Team tricots
91 Team pants
92 Goalkeeper tricots
93 Goalkeeper pants
94 Referee clothing
95 Tricots garniture
96 Socks / Stockings / Stirrups
97 Marking vests
98 Various Team clothing

99 Accessories

List 3 Product maingroups (PMGr), Footwear

For the product type Footwear the product maingroups have been structured according to the individual requirements.

1.2.7 Product Subgroups (PSGr) Product Subgroups (PSGr), Hardware

The product subgroups of the product type Hardware have been structured for each product maingroup according to the individual requirements of each group. Wherever possible care was taken to identically define the product subgroups of similarly structured maingroups, which appear in several activity groups. Product Subgroups (PSGr), Textile

The product subgroups in the product type Textile are divided to Unisex/Men, Ladies and Children. For some main product groups, the sub-groups have been further divided according to "short or long" Textile units or other characteristics/features of the main group.

The following list shows an example:

a) General structure of the Product Subgroups (PSGr.)

Example: Textile, Leisure / Fashion Winter, Gloves ( - 6)

Code Product Maingroup Product Subgroup

2 Textile
14 Leisure / Fashion Winter
04 Gloves
1 Gloves Men/
2 Gloves Lad
3 Gloves Chi
4 Mittens Men/Uni
5 Mittens Lad
6 Mittens Chi

List 4

b) General structure of the Product Subgroup (PSGr.) for Upper parts and Overalls

Example: Textil / Multisport /

1 - 3 sleeveless 1 sleeveless Men/Uni
2 sleeveless Lad
3 sleeveless Chi

4 - 6 short sleeve 4 short sleeve Men/Uni
5 short sleeve Lad
6 short sleeve Chi

7 - 9 long sleeve 7 long sleeve Men/Uni
8 long sleeve Lad
9 long sleeve Chi

List 5

c) General structure of the Product Subgroup (PSGr.) for Under parts (as far as not already subdivided in Product Maingroups)

Example: Textil / Multisport /
Bib / Strap pants

1 - 3 short 1 short Men/Uni
2 short Lad
3 short Chi

4 - 6 knee-length 4 knee-length Men/Uni
5 knee-length Lad
6 knee-length Chi


7 - 9 long 7 long Men/Uni
8 long Lad
9 long Chi

List 6 Product Subgroups (PSGr), Footwear

The product subgroups of this product type are, with a few exceptions, structured according to Unisex/Men, Ladies and Children. The following description gives an example of this structure:

Example: Footwear, Multisport, Indoor shoes ( - 9)

Code Product Maingroup Product Subgroup

3 Footwear
00 Multisport
07 Indoor
1 Men/Uni low
2 Lad low
3 Chi low
4 Men/Uni mid
5 Lad mid
6 Chi mid
7 Men/Uni high
8 Lad high
9 Chi high

List 7