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Opening Five New Stores, Dick’s Preps for Outdoor Pilot

While brick-and-mortar stores are still reeling for many retailers that aren’t classified as mass merchants, Dick’s Sporting Goods is showing that it isn’t afraid to expand and experiment with the physical channel.

The sporting goods and apparel giant is opening one of its namesake banner locations and four Warehouse Sale stores this month, expanding its footprint to 728 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide in 47 states.

These new stores will bring approximately 85 collective jobs to communities through the hiring of full-time, part-time and temporary associates for the stores, the company says.

When looking into Dick’s third-quarter earnings, the numbers indicate why the retailer is so confident in its stores. Brick-and-mortar stores comps grew “double-digits,” former CEO and chairman Edward W. Stack said in the November earnings call, with physical locations fulfilling 70 percent of online sales, which increased nearly 100 percent for the quarter.

Stack said the stores drove 90 percent of total third-quarter sales growth, which jumped 22.9 percent to $2.41 billion in the period.

The lone Dick’s Sporting Goods location, opening in Concord, N.C., will offer in-store services and exclusive offerings in apparel, footwear and equipment from the company’s own vertical brands, such as DSG, Tommy Armour, Calia by Carrie Underwood, Field & Stream and Fitness Gear. Private brands are a direction that Dick’s wants to keep going in as it enables control over the design, the supply chain and marketing of its merchandise.

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In the third quarter, private brand sales outperformed the company average by over 1,000 basis points (10 percentage points). In just one year after launch, the DSG brand, which spans men’s, women’s and new therapeutic apparel and hardlines categories, has grown to become the retailer’s largest vertical brand. The Calia brand is now the second-largest women’s brand in the company.

On top of the owned brands, the new Dick’s store sells popular national vendors like Nike, Adidas, Yeti, The North Face, Callaway and TaylorMade.

The four Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse Sale locations will offer deep discounts on customer-favorite apparel brands with “hundreds of items” offered at an advertised promotion of 70 percent off or more. The Warehouse Sale stores were initially introduced last summer as six-month popup shops and offered items of up to 90 percent off. In October, Dick’s launched three permanent Warehouse Sale stores in Monroeville, Pa., Olathe, Kan., and Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

Two of the new openings in Oklahoma City and Friendswood, Texas, are set to open Feb. 17, while the two locations in Deer Park, N.Y., and Kissimmee Fla., will open Feb. 24. The traditional Concord store will open on Feb. 27, and will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off its opening weekend celebrations, and customers will have the opportunity to win giveaways.

These locations come as Dick’s continues experimenting with new store formats. The sporting goods retailer also launched soccer-specific Soccer Shops in select Dick’s stores in October and November.

What’s more, Dick’s has a new outdoor concept in the works, called “Public Lands,” that is set to open two stores in the second half of 2021, Stack told analysts on the call. The stores, planned for Pittsburgh in August and Columbus, Ohio, in October, will take over Field & Stream stores in those cities.

“We think there’s a real opportunity from people getting outdoors, camp, hike, bike, kayaking, fishing,” Stack said in the call. “It will be different than what you would see with REI and carve out a different niche, but we’re really excited about this—the research we’ve done about this. We think there is a real opportunity in the marketplace.”

The new stores in the pipeline are being built as the company is now steered by a new captain. Lauren Hobart, who was named as president and CEO of Dick’s in November, officially stepped into the role previously held by Stack on Feb. 1. Hobart had been the company’s president since 2017, and has been with the sporting goods retailer since 2011 when she first joined as its chief marketing officer.

Earlier this month, Dick’s revealed it would be closing all of its retail locations and distribution centers on Thanksgiving Day for the second year in a row.

The company has yet to reveal how its holiday season played out, as it will report its fourth-quarter earnings on March 9. Through the first three weeks of the holiday quarter, Dick’s said same-store sales were up in the “high-teens percentage,” which would be down from the 23.2 percent third-quarter growth, but also not surprising given that a good portion of holiday sales was pulled earlier into October in 2020.