A new Power Player category is born this year: Leisure is devoted to game and toy sellers, book and music retailers, stores catering to hobbyists and those offering apparel and equipment for athletic and outdoors endeavors.
At the top of the list is Dick’s Sporting Goods, which benefited from last year’s demise of such one-time competitors as The Sports Authority, Eastern Mountain Sports, Sports Chalet, City Sports and Golfsmith. Cabela’s was foundering until Bass Pro Shops stepped up with a $4.5 billion buyout offer last fall; the deal has since been stalled, awaiting regulatory approval. Gander Mountain has been acquired by liquidator Camping World Holdings, and MC Sports has closed all 66 of its stores in the Midwest.
Through all the contraction and consolidation, Dick’s has managed to weather a slump of its own and plot a revitalization strategy. A key component is jettisoning national brands in favor of private-label merchandise: The company says it will trim goods from such suppliers as Adidas, Nike and Under Armour by 20 percent. Dick’s house brands will initially focus on high-performance apparel and gear for minor but fast-growing activities.
“With the emergence of cross-training, obstacle-course racing, spin, running and triathlon, our customers are telling us there’s an opportunity to create a brand built specifically for the unique needs of those activities,” says Ryan Eckel, Dick’s vice president for brands.
Dick’s new house brand is Second Skin, aimed at endurance sports enthusiasts. It joins such labels as Field & Stream outdoor apparel and Calia women’s wear, a joint effort with singer Carrie Underwood that has grown into one of the company’s three best-selling women’s brands in just two years.
“The consolidation in this industry is not over,” says Dick’s CEO Ed Stack, who plans to open 43 new stores, some in locations that once housed rivals.