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Dick's Sporting Goods Prepares To Launch New Concept With Outdoors Motif

Dick’s Sporting Goods, which turned in strong sales numbers during the first quarter of this year, is planning to open a new concept called Public Lands. The first of these stores, which will open this year in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, will be an "outdoor omnichannel retail concept," Dick's Executive Chairman Edward Stack said during the company's most recent earnings call.


Stack also said that the concept will be used to foster conservationism.

"As a member of the outdoor industry, we have also joined forces with other retailers to advocate for conserving 30% of the U.S. lands and waters by 2030," he said.

The new concept, which has been in the works for some years, will take advantage of the strong demand for sporting goods. Sales in the sector were up 155% in April 2021 compared with the pandemic-crippled April 2020, according to the Census Bureau. For the three months from February to April 2021, sales in the sector were up 14.1% compared with the previous three months and up 70.7% compared with February to April 2020.

Dick's turned in a strong first quarter as well, pointing to a revival for sales at its physical stores. Its Q1 2021 same-store sales increased 115% compared with the first quarter of 2020 and 52% compared with Q1 2019. Most of that, according to the company, was due to physical store sales, which were up about 40% in Q1 2021 compared with Q1 2019.

"The strength of our diverse category portfolio, supply chain, technology capabilities and omnichannel execution helped us continue to capitalize on strong consumer demand across golf, outdoor activities, home fitness and active lifestyle," Dick's President and CEO Lauren Hobart said during the earnings call.

Besides rolling out the new concept, Pittsburgh-based Dick's is also planning to open more stores this year under its various brands. In June, the company is opening a House of Sport in Knoxville, Tennessee, along with a Dick's Sporting Goods in Mission Viejo, California.

The company is opening three new Dick's Sporting Goods Warehouse locations this month, which are discount versions of its standard brand, and is rolling out redesigned Golf Galaxy stores that aim to offer a more immersive experience for golfers. 

One important trend driving sporting goods this year is athleisure clothing sales, according to management consultancy McKinsey & Co. Although such sales were growing before the coronavirus pandemic, a rising acceptance of comfortable wear in previously more formal contexts became more pronounced in 2020.

Last year also saw a shift toward digital fitness, spurred by physical distancing requirements. Even in a digital context, consumers still buy sporting goods equipment. Digital fitness won’t fully replace traditional sports but rather be a permanent part of a hybrid model going forward, McKinsey predicts.