• Retail Dive

Dick's debuts experiential House of Sport store concept

By Cara Salpini

Published April 5, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods is opening its first House of Sport store concept in Victor, New York, on Friday — the latest in a number of new ventures, the retailer said Monday. The company is also opening two more Warehouse Sale locations, and putting upgraded Soccer Shops into 34 of its existing stores in April.

  • House of Sport, a new concept for Dick's, is focused on "multi-sport experiences," more engagement with the community and more customer service, according to a release. A second location will open in Knoxville, Tennessee, later this year.

  • The experiential store elements include a 17,000-square-foot turf field and track, a 32-foot rock-climbing wall, golf pro shops that include simulator-equipped golf hitting bays, a putting green, a batting cage, wellness services like yoga, and equipment services like baseball glove steaming, racquet stringing, tune-ups and others.

Dive Insight:

Dick's Sporting Goods has been on a store concept tear lately. The retailer in June debuted two different clearance-based store concepts, Dick's Sporting Goods Warehouse and Overtime by Dick's Sporting Goods, and has since expanded on its initial plans for them.

The House of Sport concept is different from those in a couple of big ways, though. The concept is not focused on selling products at a discount, like Overtime and Warehouse, and it also includes several experiential features meant to deepen its relationship with customers and offer services beyond just shopping.

The outdoor field, for example, is open year-round for customers to practice on, with their teams or by themselves, and will feature an ice rink in the winter, according to a company spokesperson. The company will offer food, including juices and PowerBars, and customers can also schedule appointments to talk with local wellness experts.

The concept promises to engage more with consumers while still staying in its lane of sports-focused retail. And the retailer is also improving its offerings at core Dick's stores with similar features. In April, Dick's is debuting nine redesigned Golf Galaxy stores and adding more technology to 62 others, with more remodels planned. The redesigned stores will offer tech-enabled golf simulators and putting greens, just like House of Sport, as well as custom fittings and golf lessons.

Soccer is another area where the retailer is doubling down. Soccer shops in existing Dick's stores will feature specially trained soccer experts, an improved cleat shop and soccer trial cages in some places.

CEO Lauren Hobart said in March that the concept will serve as a test-and-learn space, and the company will roll out the "most successful elements" into its core Dick's Sporting Goods stores, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the company's Q4 earnings. It's a strategy that others in the space have used as well, including Nike, which has a slew of experiential stores, including House of Innovation and its Nike Live concept, which have influenced future brick-and-mortar openings and become a core part of Nike's strategy.

Lululemon, too, has launched a larger format focused on experiential services, including workout studios and snack bars. The company has since acquired home tech workout company Mirror and is rolling it out to stores as well.

In addition to launching concepts off its namesake brand, Dick's Sporting Goods, the company is also planning an outdoor concept for this year, dubbed Public Lands.