The opening of the long-awaited Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., could be a boon for business, according to area retailers.
Adidas has already seen an impact, bowing its Nets Shop by Adidas inside Barclays Center on Sept. 24 (ahead of the center’s official opening on Friday). The debut marks the label’s first branded retail location in Brooklyn. Nets Shop will carry official fan gear for the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, which now calls Barclays Center home.
“Fan excitement has been off the charts since our store ribbon cutting,” said Nic Vu, VP of retail for Adidas. “Sales at the store have exceeded expectations. Specifically, the limited-edition Jay-Z No. 4 Carter jersey sold out over the weekend and Nets jerseys have been extremely popular.”
Vu added that having an Adidas store in Brooklyn could be a game changer for the company. “The Nets Shop by Adidas represents not only a significant business opportunity for Adidas,” he said, “but also the chance to connect our brand to a major sports and cultural moment at its inception. In addition, we have a variety of retail partners in the area and we expect the Barclays Center and the full Adidas branded experience offered by the new store to raise visibility and excitement for Adidas’ Nets merchandise across all retail partners.”
At Modell’s Sporting Goods on Flatbush Avenue, across the street from Barclays Center, store GM Nicholas Chang said the store saw a tenfold increase in traffic, and sales were up significantly in all departments, including footwear. A steady stream of shoppers, both Brooklynites and out-of-towners, flowed through the shop even during the Jay-Z concert that kicked off the arena’s opening on Friday, Chang said.
And while Chang and other area retailers said it was too soon to tell how the Barclays Center will affect long-term sales, they were optimistic, saying the destination had already created more excitement around shopping in Brooklyn.
“It has had a big impact on our business,” Chang said, adding that on Friday several customers in his store mentioned they were in the area hoping to catch a glimpse of Jay-Z and other celebrities from across the street. “We’ve been calling [the Barclays Center] the Brooklyn version of Times Square,” Chang added. “It’s the new thing [for tourists] to check out.”
Foot Locker Inc. also has several stores within walking distance of the Barclays Center, including Footaction and Lady Foot Locker. “Our customers are excited about the upcoming Nets season and the opening of the Barclays Center, which brings basketball to Brooklyn,” said Stacy Cunningham, EVP of marketing at Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker and Footaction. “Brooklyn loves basketball. The presence of the Nets and the new arena is being felt throughout Brooklyn, especially in the Fulton Street District.”
In addition, a number of independent retailers stand to benefit from an influx of visitors, according to Daniel Kahalani, CEO of the five-door DNA Footwear chain, which has a store about five blocks from the new venue.
“It is great for the area and it’s definitely an enhancement,” Kahalani said. “Two or three years from now, you will see the growth of the population and hopefully growth in business. The area itself has [already] been healthy, but [the Barclays Center] will bring in a lot of outsiders.”