What to learn from Dick’s and Hibbett + How they keep Nike happy – Footwear News


2021 has been an exceptional year for sporting goods retailers.

Hibbett Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports and Outdoors all recorded exceptional in-store and digital sales in 2021. In their final quarters, all three retailers have reported strong sales growth and raised their outlook for the year. whole.

In a time of record inflation and supply chain slowdown, these retailers have managed to profit from an increase in outdoor and sports categories, driven by consumer interest in activities such as hiking and running. walk. They also understood how to best use their physical stores and built on strong relationships with top brands.

According to experts and analysts, other retailers in similar categories should take note of these growth-boosting strategies.

For starters, sporting goods stores are recording sales in a range of footwear and clothing, thanks to a general wellness boom. However, in addition to clothing and footwear for sports and activities, these stores also sell comfortable clothing and sporting goods that can also be worn at home, which is useful for meeting all types of consumers on the market. spectrum of sportswear, said Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData.

In other words, these stores have succeeded in becoming a destination for the backpacker as well as the home worker who wants to be at ease.

“For categories like sneakers, there is also a significant element of fashion and desirability that fuels growth. In addition, there is a very strong resale and trading market that also drives sales,” Saunders added.

It’s also important to spread awareness of this wide range of offerings with an inclusive and diverse marketing strategy, which Liza Amlani, director and founder of consulting firm Retail Strategy Group, said both Dick’s and Hibbett have excelled in.

“Other retailers in the athletic footwear industry can learn from Dick’s and Hibbett by implementing a customer-centric strategy, from merchandising to marketing,” said Amlani. “Getting closer to the customer by staying relevant and meeting the customer where and how they want to shop is essential. Aligning with values ​​such as diversity, inclusion and sustainability will keep customers coming back. “

Another key advantage for these retailers is the strong relationships with key brands such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armor. This is all the more important as many of these big brands are ending some retail partnerships to focus on DTC channels.

For example, Dick’s – FN Retailer of the Year 2021 – has a strong connection to Nike through a supplier relationship and a new digital partnership.

“Dick’s is on the good list of most, if not all of the key suppliers,” Williams Trading analyst Sam Poser said in a note. “As such, Dick’s is securing a key product faster than its competitors and will continue to do so until 2022.”

Hibbett also leverages a strong relationship with Nike and Adidas by focusing on selling in “underserved markets” where competition is less. This strategy, which helps it appeal to consumers with fewer purchasing options, also generates value for its major suppliers.

“We really like this business model,” Hibbett CEO Michael Longo said on a call with investors. “We thrive in this environment and we are thus incremental and complementary to the activities of the big brands. And we think that’s a big part of what we do.

In a call with investors discussing the company’s third-quarter results, the director of merchandising for Academy Sports called the company’s businesses Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, Columbia and The North Face, who, according to him, “all recorded strong performances which would attribute to improving inventory positions. , better content and more controlled distribution in the market.

On the flip side, retailers who don’t deliver enough value to their key brands will likely lose share, as brands are more likely to allocate products to better performing partners when inventory runs out due to supply chain slowdowns.

“Only the most relevant and even the most important players in the game and business partners have to prove that they are valuable by working closely with brands that have a very clear message,” said Amlani.

While discussing The latest Foot Locker results, Poser said Foot Locker is losing market share as companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hibbett and JD Sports “appear to be more popular than FL by major suppliers.”

“In the long term, we believe that Foot Locker will continue to shrink and lose weight with Nike, ”Poser said.


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