• Retail Dive

Dick's sales surge 119% as it invests in stores, private labels

Published May 27, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • In the midst of a slew of in-store initiatives, Dick's Sporting Goods reported record sales for the first quarter, up 119% from last year and up 52% compared to 2019.

  • That was driven by 115% comps growth, mostly brick-and-mortar based, as e-commerce comps grew 14%, according to a company press release.

  • Net income was nearly $362 million, compared to a net loss of $143 million during the pandemic. Compared to 2019, net income surged 529%.

Dive Insight:

It's full speed ahead for Dick's Sporting Goods as Q1 sales grew massively. E-commerce growth came on top of a 110% increase last year, but brick and mortar was the real star, as strong results justified investing more in store concepts and experiential elements.

"Dick's is a growth company and we will continue to invest in our business to grow our lead as the nation's largest sport retailer," Executive Chairman and Chief Merchandising Officer Ed Stack said on a call with analysts. "We see significant growth opportunities within Dick's and Golf Galaxy, as well as with House of Sport and Public Lands. We will continue to invest in our vertical brands, and with our key partners, including Nike, North Face, Callaway, TaylorMade and others, to elevate the athlete experience across the stores and online."

House of Sport, an experience-heavy store concept the retailer debuted in April, is "on track to become among our highest volume stores in the chain," Stack said on the call, with the retailer planning to open another location in Tennessee this year. Experiential soccer shops and revamps to its Golf Galaxy stores have also been doing well, and the retailer sees particular promise in the golf business.

"With Golf Galaxy comps significantly outperforming the company average in recent quarters, we're leaning into this streak by investing in our Golf Galaxy business," Stack said, citing previously announced investments like adding TrackMan technology to stores, golf lessons, hitting bays and other elements.

Dick's is also closing in on launching its outdoors concept, Public Lands, with the first two stores planned for later this year. Stack noted that conservation efforts will be a prominent part of the concept and the retailer will "champion environmental issues" through the banner. While the retailer has also been testing off-price formats over the past several months, those are "truly just a test," according to CEO Lauren Hobart.

"We're using it as a clearance vehicle in the Dick's channel, and we'll have more to come on that, but it's a handful of stores right now, and it is a test just in order to keep our clearance moving," Hobart said to analysts.

In addition to testing out new store concepts, merchandise has also seen some investment, with private labels getting more marketing power behind them and new brands launching to take advantage of different growth areas.

"Despite some very favorable conditions, Dick's also deserves credit for its success," Neil Saunders, managing director for GlobalData, said in emailed comments. "The apparel offer, for example, is looking stronger than ever with a very good mix of big brands and own-labels. The introduction of new own-brands such as VRST has helped to elevate the proposition and has allowed Dick's to differentiate from rivals. This effort has been important in a market that has steadily become more crowded as other retailers have entered the athleisure and sporting apparel arena."

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