How The Sports Authority Is Evolving

The Sports Authority is looking to elevate its store experience.

The Englewood, Colo.-based sporting goods retailer has undertaken a number of remodels this year to its SA 720 model — 14 stores in the Miami and South Florida region in the spring, 18 stores in the San Francisco Bay area and 25 stores in the New York/New Jersey area this summer

Stephen Binkley, chief merchandising officer for the firm, told FN that the new look has a more intuitive design for shoppers. It also provides a showcase, he said, for initiatives like Sports Authority’s new women’s yoga apparel collection, Bloom. The line launched this month and should help the retailer target the increasingly important women’s market.

Here, Binkley explains the plan for the remodeled store concept and how the chain wants to keep advancing women’s.

1. What are the most important elements of the SA 720 remodel, which most recently rolled out in New York?
SB:
It’s about the environment, about consumer expectations, customer service and the elevation of the assortments. That’s what you see us doing. New York is a very important market, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to show a little of what we’re capable of and some direction. When you walk in the store, it’s much more brightly lit, more current. The environment is about being well organized, well lit and you feel invited to engage with the merchandise. Depending on the time of year, we’ll have great-looking “shops” — baseball, apparel or others.

2. Will we see more markets get makeovers?
SB:
We’re still measuring our results and we are continuing to learn and refine our process. As a national retailer that plays to specific regional and targeted markets, it means different things in different parts of the country, so we’re targeting our approach. But what we have in New York, we’d love to share that with the world.

3. Bloom is a women’s-only launch. How important is the women’s segment for the athletic market as a whole?
SB:
Anyone who’s not paying attention is not reading the tea leaves and not seeing the data points. The female shopper rules the average spend for herself and her family, so it’s safe to say that anyone who’s not playing there is not playing in retail itself. Our recent launch of the Bloom yoga apparel collection gives you an idea of where we’re headed. We can capitalize on one of the fastest-growing participation sports, but more important, from a lifestyle perspective. And we achieve that with Bloom. It’s been very strong out of the box.

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