Dick's Sporting Goods is building out the brand ambassadors for its private labels, announcing on Thursday that celebrity dance couple Stephen "tWitch" and Allison Boss would be the first long-term ambassadors for its DSG family athleisure brand.
The news comes just a week after the athletics retailer signed DeVonta Smith, the 10th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, to front its VRST men's apparel line. Smith will represent both athletic and lifestyle apparel and will be "prominently featured" throughout the brand's merchandising and marketing.
VRST launched in March and is the company's most recent private label. Unlike DSG, which is only sold in Dick's stores and online, VRST has its own website in addition to selling through Dick's.
Dick's is on the move.
The athletics retailer in the past few months has launched VRST, tested and expanded clearance-based store formats, teased a new outdoor concept dubbed Public Lands, secured brand ambassadors for multiple private labels, and debuted an experiential store called House of Sport. All while posting strong results: In March, the retailer reported a record 9.9% comps increase for 2020 and also doubled its digital sales.
With new brand ambassadors, Dick's private label strategy is picking up. DSG — which offers an assortment of apparel and equipment for men, women and kids — is focused on supporting inclusivity for all athletes, a value that the Boss family shares, according to the release. VRST, which is focused solely on men, operates more in the athleisure space, with products including joggers, commuter pants and hoodies. Signing a top draft pick to front the label guarantees a certain extent of consumer attention and could give it credibility with shoppers.
"DeVonta's elevated sense of style and electrifying performance on the field are an ideal representation of what VRST offers men who demand both style and performance from the clothes they wear," Ed Plummer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
Signing celebrities to front its private labels — Carrie Underwood represents CALIA, its women's apparel brand — allows the retailer to appeal to different demographics and tap into the large audience of their followings. Underwood, Smith and the Boss family all operate in different spheres in the celebrity world and could therefore bring in different shoppers to the brand.
Outside of its private labels, though, Dick's Sporting Goods has also been focused on diversifying its store fleet through new store concepts. And efforts appear to be paying off.
"Dick's is gaining share through its curated assortment of national brands, differentiated private label portfolio, and e-commerce, which is helped by its off-mall locations that allow for social distancing and curbside pickup," Telsey Advisory Group analysts led by Joseph Feldman said in an emailed research note in March.