Despite COVID Pressure on Retail, Dick’s Sporting Goods Continues to Open More Stores

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. is opening more stores even as the pandemic continues to pressure brick-and-mortar retail.

The Coraopolis, Penn.-based company has announced plans to expand its physical footprint this month with the launch of five outposts — one namesake location in Concord, N.C., and four Warehouse Sale units in Friendswood, Texas; Oklahoma City; Deer Park, N.Y.; and Kissimmee, Fla. In a statement, the retailer shared that the stores will bring roughly 85 full-time, part-time and temporary associate jobs to those areas.

Following the openings, Dick’s will have 728 locations across 47 states. Its expansion comes at a trying time for the retail sector as renewed lockdowns related to the coronavirus health crisis continue to push consumers online and reduce foot traffic to physical stores.

According to a recent report from Coresight Research, retailers could collectively announce as many as 10,000 store closures in 2021 — a 14% increase from 2020’s already devastating levels. Over the past several months, a number of big-name fashion and footwear players — such as the bankrupted JCPenney, fast-fashion giant H&M, women’s clothier Christopher & Banks and department store Macy’s — have collectively announced hundreds of closures.

Dick’s, however, is among the companies that have appeared to benefit from the broader COVID-19-induced shift to at-home and active lifestyles: In late November, it posted another stronger-than-anticipated quarter, with earnings of $2.01 per share and revenues increasing 22.9% to $2.41 billion. (Wall Street had predicted earnings of $1.01 per share and revenues of $2.23 billion.)

Sales, reported the sporting goods chain, were driven by a 23.2% gain in comps, including a 95% hike in its e-commerce business. Recently named CEO Lauren Hobart touted Dick’s brick-and-mortar fleet, whose same-store sales improved double digits. She added that the company’s stores fulfilled about 70% of online sales and approximately 90% of total sales growth in the quarter, whether it was a purchase at the register, picked up curbside or delivered through its ship-from-store service.

“Our stores continue to be the hub of our industry-leading omnichannel platform and were the key to our unprecedented third quarter growth,” Hobart explained at the time. “Data science and technology will continue to play an important role in creating a personalized, one-to-one relationship with our athletes, enabling us to serve them in the most convenient way possible.”

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