Brooks attributed its success in part to investment in its consumer research Run-Sight Lab. With these insights, it said, the running brand quickly adjusted its communication approach and reinforced its omnichannel distribution support.
“In 2020, the Brooks team stayed very close to the runner for cues on how to navigate the uncertainty caused by global retail and supply chain disruptions,” Jim Weber, CEO at Brooks Running, said in a statement. “We quickly found new demand signals to track shifts in running participation and shopping behavior and acted decisively to engage runners and gain market share in every channel of distribution.”
With many brick-and-mortar stores closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Brooks said its sales and operation team worked to create a new customer-driven process that took cues from digital sell-through and running participation rather than retailer signals. By the middle of the year, it said, this process gave it the confidence that demand was exceeding prior-year sales, leading it to give the green light to reignite production.
While markets were interrupted with inventory disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brooks said its market share grew around the globe. At retail, it ended the year as the No. 4 adult performance running footwear brand in the U.S., according to data it attributed to the NPD Group. Dollar share, it said, rose 1.8 points to 8.5 percent. In the same period, the Brooks Ghost became the top franchise for adult performance running in the total and run specialty markets combined, it added.
Among runners, Brooks said it gained more than 3 points of performance running dollar-share last year and, for the first time, became the No. 2 brand among runners based on dollar share. In the final two months of the year, it became the top adult performance running footwear brand in the athletic specialty/sporting goods channel.
Brooks said digital sales grew from less than 35 percent of sales in 2019 to a peak of 82 percent in April. By the end of the year, they had stabilized at 46 percent, it added.
While many other companies have been forced to lay off employees during the coronavirus pandemic,’ growth has allowed Brooks to expand. Over the past 12 months, its active employee count surpassed 1,000 with the addition of nearly 100 employees and zero layoffs.