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Do New Stores Suggest a ‘New Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Is on the Horizon?

Dick’s Sporting Goods is continuing its effort to scale its nationwide footprint, prepping four more store openings in March after opening five in February.

Three of the March openings will be the traditional Dick’s Sporting Goods locations, while the fourth will be the company’s more contemporary Warehouse Sale banner. Originally conceived as six-month popup shops in the summer of 2020, the Warehouse Sale locations offer deep discounts on customer-favorite footwear and apparel brands, offering markdowns of 70 percent off or more on “hundreds of items.”

The retailer says the new stores will bring approximately 190 collective jobs to communities through the hiring of full-time, part-time and temporary associates for the stores.

The namesake stores will open in Las Vegas and Lewisville, Texas, on March 5, and in Rockford, Ill., on March 20, while the Warehouse Sale location will open in Dick’s hometown of Pittsburgh on March 31. The stores will host ribbon-cutting ceremonies to kick off their opening weekend celebrations and customers will have the opportunity to win giveaways.

Following the openings, Dick’s will have 730 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide in 47 states, up from the 728 the company reported on Jan. 30. The company quietly closed an anchor store in the Northlake Mall in Charlotte, N.C., last month.

Not included in either the February or March opening announcements are the plans to open two new stores that reflect what the retailer boasts as “The New Dick’s Sporting Goods.”

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Two concept stores, one in Victor, N.Y. and one in Knoxville, Tenn., are set to open in March and May in their regional malls, respectively, with a page on the company’s jobs site dedicated to the locations. The site touts the new stores as a “new sports destination” and a “game-changing experience,” and showcases various job openings.

The stores were first introduced under a concept called “Ecosystem Of The Future (EOF),” with new CEO and president Lauren Hobart highlighting at a December Morgan Stanley conference that the stores would feature a greater range of experiential elements, including a climbing wall and a playing field outdoors for high school sports teams to practice. In colder areas, the playing field will convert to an ice rink in the winter months.

An in-store health and wellness section is also planned for the concept.

“We continue to test and learn. We have an incredibly entrepreneurial culture. Having been a founder-led company all these years, we still feel very much like a small company in our ability to be very nimble and try things,” Hobart said at the event. “And, if they fail, we’ve learned something. I do think that the EOF will tell us different things about what kind of experiences people want in the stores, and it’s going to be a huge learning for us.”

Concepts are becoming all the rage for the sporting goods giant, with Dick’s even setting sights on the outdoors segment, which has been a bright spot during the pandemic. Former CEO and chairman Ed Stack disclosed on the company’s third-quarter earnings call that Dick’s was set to open two “Public Lands” stores in the second half of 2021. Only 20 percent of the new concept’s product mix is expected to be similar to Dick’s outdoor offerings in its original stores, Stack said.

The Public Lands stores, planned for Pittsburgh in August and Columbus, Ohio, in October, will take over Field & Stream stores in those cities.

The retailer is set to 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 23.2 percent third-quarter growth, but not alarming given that a good portion of the retail industry’s holiday sales was pulled earlier into October last year.