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Dick’s Goes Experiential with ‘House of Sport’ Store Openings

In an era when retailers remain cautious about scaling brick-and-mortar operations, Dick’s Sporting Goods is confident its new store models can bolster traffic and sales in 2021 and beyond.

The sporting goods retailer is opening its long-awaited second Dick’s House of Sport location in Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday, two months after opening the first version of the experiential concept in Victor, N.Y.

The Knoxville House of Sport store will feature a 24,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track, a rock-climbing wall, a batting cage with HitTrax technology, golf hitting bays with TrackMan simulators, a putting green, a “House of Cleats” that will seasonally rotate product, a health and wellness destination to help customers with recovery and wellbeing and a consolidated service area for breaking in gloves, stringing lacrosse sticks, and building and repairing bikes.

Like the traditional Dick’s Sporting Goods locations, the store will showcase athletic and outdoor apparel brands, a vast selection of footwear, gear for team sports and equipment for golf and fitness. The Victor location, which officially opened on April 9, has the same features as the Knoxville store, but the outdoor turf field and running track is 17,000 square feet.

The 24,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track at the Knoxville House of Sport.
The 24,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track at the Knoxville House of Sport. Dick's Sporting Goods

The retailer also is opening a relocated Dick’s Sporting Goods location in Mission Viejo, Calif., on Saturday, and is reopening two redesigned Golf Galaxy stores in Houston and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Golf Galaxy stores will include the TrackMan simulator tech and BioMech Golf real-time putting technologies, alongside the new hitting bays.

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Additionally, Dick’s is opening three more temporary Warehouse Sale locations this month in Kennesaw, Ga.; Fenton, Mo., and Knoxville, where shoppers will access deep discounts of items 70 percent off or more. The retailer is using the Warehouse Sale and the recently introduced Going, Going, Gone! discount banners as temporary vehicles to keep clearance moving, CEO Lauren Hobart said in a recent earnings call.

Dick’s will roll out more of its experiential “Soccer Shops” inside 46 of its current stores in select stores in June. The stores are designed to offer a high level of service from in-store soccer experts who are specially trained to help customers find the equipment they need and the right fit for their cleats. The Soccer Shops will feature a variety of updated in-store elements including an elevated cleat shop and an expanded selection of licensed jerseys in select locations.

Following the store openings, Dick’s will operate 731 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide in 47 states and 98 Golf Galaxy stores nationwide in 35 states.

The new stores will bring approximately 450 collective jobs to communities through the hiring of full-time, part-time and temporary associates for the stores.

All the stores that are opening or reopening will host ribbon cutting ceremonies to kick off their opening weekend celebrations.

The retailer brought in record first-quarter sales of $2.92 billion, an increase of 119 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020. Even when not accounting for the Covid-ridden statistics of 2020, sales jumped compared 55 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019.

The skyrocketing sales alongside a healthy $361.8 million in net income boosted the sporting goods giant’s confidence for the remainder of 2021. While the company initially forecast full-year adjusted earnings per share between $4.40 and $5.20, the updated range outlook now rests between $8 and $8.70 per share.

Looking forward into the latter half of 2021, all eyes will be on Dick’s upcoming Public Lands outdoors model, which will start with two stores. The stores, planned for Pittsburgh in August and Columbus, Ohio, in October, will take over Field & Stream stores in those cities.

Public Lands plans to be in a completely different direction from traditional Dick’s Sporting Goods stores and their offshoots. Only 20 percent of Public Lands’ product mix is expected to be similar to Dick’s outdoor offerings in its original stores, with merchandise largely focused on camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing, according to chairman and former CEO Edward Stack.