Finding a Way

The 2019 Power Retailers Have Similar Challenges but Different Strategies for Success.

This is Sports Insight’s ninth annual Power Retail report. You don’t need us to tell you that things in the sporting goods retail industry have changed quite a bit in that timeframe.

In the past decade, e-commerce strategies have transformed the way we shop, DTC challenges for retailers have grown, retail technology has altered the way in-store business is conducted and retail “disruption” has taken aim at brick-and-mortar stores more than once in that time.

But of the 12 power retailers we featured in our first Power Retail report back in 2011, eight still remain on our list today. Some are in more perilous financial positions than others, as the profiles on the following pages will outline. But they all still wield power.

For the record, the four who dropped off the list include three defunct chains: Sports Authority, Sport Chalet and MC Sports; as well as Bob’s Stores (which exists now in a smaller form and under new ownership after a 2016 bankruptcy filing.)

The retailers on our 2019 list all share some similar opportunities and challenges, but they are mapping out different paths forward. For example, while Dick’s Sporting Goods steps away from the hunting business, the door opens for another power player such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to capitalize on their embrace of that category. And while Hibbett Sports makes plans to close nearly 100 stores in smaller markets, Dunham’s Sports keeps its eye on smaller markets as it continues to successfully serve those communities.

We know from past experience that some of the retailers on this year’s list may not be on the Power Retail list next year. The profiles on the following pages offer insight into the challenges and opportunities these retailers face right now.

The Power 12 Retailers on our 2019 list are: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dunham's Sports, Foot Locker, Gander Outdoors, Hibbett Sports, Modell's Sporting Goods, Olympia Sports, REI and Scheels. (Click the logos at the top of the page to read each profile.)