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Dick’s Sporting Goods Gambled on a New Experiential Retail Concept and It’s Already Paying Off

In early April, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced the opening of its first House of Sport outpost, an experiential store concept meant to inspire destination shopping, thanks to a 17,000-square-foot turf field and running track, a rock-climbing wall, a batting cage, golf hitting bays and a putting green.

And according to a new report from retail analytics firm Placer.ai, the gamble appears to be paying off. 

Placer.ai studied foot traffic at that first location in Victor, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester. The company found that customer visits to the House of Sport store “significantly outpaced” visits to other Dick’s Sporting Goods doors in the area. In fact, average weekly visits to House of Sports in Victor were 93.5% higher than at three nearby Dick’s locations.

Dick's Sporting Goods House of Sport
A look at the rock-climbing wall at Dick’s Sporting Goods’ House of Sport in Victor, N.Y.
CREDIT: Tom Marasco/Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Of course, the biggest surge in foot traffic occurred soon after the store opening, however, customer visits have continued to outpace other locations each week this summer. And shoppers who stop by the House of Sport tend to stick around: According to Placer.ai, the median visit duration there was 13.3% longer than the national average.

The analytics company predicts this retail concept will be highly beneficial for Dick’s, which has been on a steady winning streak. “The ability to leverage locations like this in more suburban areas could create a significant asset for Dick’s Sporting Goods. Expect the brand to continue to deploy experiential and newer concepts as it leverages its uniquely strong position to deepen its role,” wrote Ethan Chernofsky, VP of marketing, in a post on Placer.ai.

Dick's Sporting Goods House of Sport
The “House of Cleats” at Dick’s Sporting Goods’ new House of Sport.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Indeed, Dick’s Sporting Goods has spent 2021 opening dozens of new locations, including a second House of Sport that debuted in Knoxville, Tenn., on June 4. It also is making a bigger play for the off-price channel by rolling out more of its Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse Sale stores and its first two Going, Going, Gone! locations, which were unveiled on May 28.

At the same time, the national retailer has been going niche by launching more Golf Galaxy stores and Dick’s Soccer Shops. And the outdoor market is eagerly awaiting its Public Lands retail concept, announced in November. The first door for that outdoor concept is expected to open this month.

Dick’s is scheduled to release its second-quarter financial results this month, on Aug. 25, when market watchers will get a better idea of how the retailer’s aggressive expansion strategy is netting out.

For its first quarter, the company far exceeded expectations, with revenue jumping 119% to $2.92 billion, compared with consensus bets of $2.18 billion. And it recorded earnings of $3.79 per share, versus Wall Street’s forecasts of $1.12 in earnings per share.

In an earnings statement released in May, executive chairman and chief merchandising officer Ed Stack said, “We are in a great lane right now, and 2021 will be our 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.”

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