Dick’s Outlines Bold Experiential Retail Future After Record Q1 Results

Dick’s Outlines Bold, Experiential Retail Future After Record Q1 Results

May 26, 2021 at 04:00PM

Consumers are enjoying — and keeping — the active lifestyle changes they made during the pandemic, Dick’s Sporting Goods said on Wednesday (May 26) as it posted record first-quarter sales and earnings and raised its full-year forecast.

For the three months ending May 1, the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer said that its sales rose 119 percent from the COVID-ravaged trough in 2020, and 52 percent from the first quarter of 2019. According to CEO Lauren Hobart, who took over the top job on Feb. 1, the quarter was driven by strong consumer demand across golf, outdoor activities, home fitness and active lifestyle, as well as a resurgence and reopening of youth activities.

“The strength of our diverse category portfolio, supply chain, technology capabilities and omnichannel execution helped us continue to capitalize on strong consumer demand,” Hobart said, noting a bounce in Dick’s team sports business “as kids began to get back out on the field after a year in which many youth sports activities were delayed or canceled.” 

The Pittsburgh-based operator of 855 traditional retail and specialty locations said that its same-store sales rose 115 percent, while its eCommerce growth rate slowed to 14 percent from 110 percent a year ago, bringing its digital penetration rate to 20 percent of total sales. The retailer also saw an 80 percent drop in COVID-related safety costs, to just $13 million from $62 million last year, which also helped to widen bottom-line results.

A Bold, Experiential Future

The latest quarterly results also include the company’s new “Dick’s House Of Sports” concept store that it launched in April, which includes indoor and outdoor play spaces that allow for experiential shopping, kicking, climbing, swinging and more.

Ed Stack, executive chairman and prior CEO, told investors to expect to see more of that hands-on business model going forward, predicting that 2021 will be the boldest and most transformational year in the company’s history. “We believe the future of retail is experiential, powered by technology and a world-class omnichannel operating model,” he said. “We are reimagining the athlete experience, both across our core business and through new concepts that we have been working on for the past several years, which will collectively propel our growth in the future.”

The sporting goods and athletic apparel retailer has made a major investment in building an omnichannel business, an effort that already sees Dick’s fulfilling 70 percent of its online orders via in-store or curbside pickup. In addition, the company’s latest move to differentiate itself via the “showrooming” concept — which uses brick-and-mortar locations to allow customers to touch and try on merchandise — is aimed at driving sales and attracting new customers. Hobart said the company expects to open six new Dick’s Sporting Goods stores and eight specialty concept stores in 2021.

“Looking ahead, we remain very enthusiastic about our business and are pleased to increase our full-year sales and earnings outlook,” she added, noting that the retailer now projects $10.5 to $10.8 billion in sales, reflecting same-store sales growth of 8 to 11 percent.