- On the back of a nearly 14% rise in net sales and a 12% comps increase, Dick's CEO Lauren Hobart announced Tuesday that the retailer is already planning new stores for its House of Sport and Public Lands concepts in 2022 as it continues to invest in the business.
- E-commerce, a bright spot last year, has slowed down, with just 1% growth compared to last year's 95% rise, though Hobart said on a call with analysts that the retailer has been improving profitability in the channel, per a Seeking Alpha transcript.
- Dick's also has a new chief financial officer in Navdeep Gupta, who took on the role last month. Gupta joined Dick's in 2017 and has "led most of the finance functions" since then, including playing "a really critical role in securing financing at the outset of COVID," Hobart said on the call.
Dick's $2.75 billion in net sales this quarter was up 40% from 2019, and the company raised its full-year guidance for the third time this year. Talking to analysts about the quarter, Hobart praised Dick's "transformational journey" from 2017 to now.
"We elevated the athlete experience in our stores through more differentiated and premium products and delivered stronger merchandise presentation," Hobart said. "We also improved our service and selling culture, made our stores more experiential and reallocated more space to regionally relevant and growing categories. These changes fueled improved results and significantly improved our comp sales trajectory well before the pandemic."
Dick's active customers metric is at "a record high," Hobart said, and its merchandise is "significantly more distinctive" compared to 2017, thanks to new private labels that are growing and gaining share, as well as strong partnerships with leading brands. Dick's has invested in brand ambassadors for its private labels and with its latest owned brand, VRST, the retailer launched a specific e-commerce site for the brand. Hobart said the owned brands are "driving exclusivity" and gaining traction with shoppers.
As well-known brands like Nike and Adidas shift more sales to DTC, Dick's has so far not really been impacted. Nike considers the brand one of its key partners, as evidenced by a recent loyalty tie-up between the two that will give Dick's access to more Nike products. The two are sharing customer data through the deal, and it's already driving customers to download the Dick's app, according to Hobart.
"[T]he national brand partners have been very vocal about the fact that they're narrowing distribution and going to be focused on strategic partners," Hobart said. "And we are fortunate to be in a position where we are strategic partners to all of the key brands."
Executives are also excited about Dick's store concept strategy, which included the launch earlier this year of a new outdoors format, Public Lands. That banner is "off to a strong start," according to Hobart, while the experiential House of Sport concept that debuted in April is inspiring Dick's to make changes at some of its core stores as well. In particular, the fitting room experience at House of Sport will be brought to Dick's other stores, and the retailer is making other changes as well based on their performance at those stores.
GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders called Dick's "a company firmly on the front foot." Saunders pointed to Dick's increase in net income since 2019 — the metric is 5.5 times higher than that year — as "exceptional," and a mark of its success during the pandemic.
"It also wins applause for its innovation which, despite the many challenges of the pandemic, has not slowed down," Saunders said. "This is evident in its testing of new formats, such as the Public Lands stores it has opened. While this initiative remains embryonic — there are only two locations at present — it gives Dick's a toehold in the rapidly growing outdoor market and a vehicle to more directly target specialists like REI which have been very successful in this space."