The Finish Line recently reported sales at its brick-and-mortar stores declined 4.3% in its most recent quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, but online sales increased 3.1% as the athletic footwear and apparel retailer rolled out a revamped mobile loyalty app, according to Internet Retailer.
The Finish Line already sees more than two-thirds of all of its online shopping traffic coming from mobile devices. “We’re seeing an increase in where revenue is happening and big growth in mobile through the app, specifically,” Finish Line CEO Sam Sato said on the company’s earnings call last week, according to the Seeking Alpha call transcript.
Finish Line CFO Ed Wilhelm also said during the call that the retailer plans to shut down 15–20 stores, while remodeling another 45–60 stores with new storefronts and other details as part of an ongoing store investment strategy.
This report comes a couple of months after Finish Line rebooted its Winner's Circle mobile loyalty app, offering new features and a better checkout experience to the app's 10 million users. Among other additions to the app, Sato said future app releases "will incorporate in-store beacon and geo-fencing technology to launch tailored offers and in-store opportunities based on customer preferences."
Even in its latest form, the app reboot appears to have had a quick return for a retailer that, like so many others, realizes mobile represents a big chunk of its future, but is still working to get it right.
It's arguably even more important for Finish Line to get mobile right sooner rather than later, as many of the brands it sells are evolving their own direct-to-consumer sales and channel approaches, with some of that happening through proprietary mobile apps. For example, Nike reportedly has been considering selling direct through Amazon's brand registry program, and last year it revamped its Nike+ mobile app with improved shopping features.
Still, Finish Line isn't forgetting about its brick-and-mortar stores. In addition to the beacon and geo-fencing feature to come in its mobile app that will tie into its stores, the company is proceeding on a broad effort to remodel many aspects of its existing stores, including redesigns of its storefronts and store logos, and its shoe walls and other interior features. In the most recent quarter, a total of 17 stores were updated, bringing the updated store count up to 69.
At the same time, The Finish line continues to close some stores, having already said in March of this year that it would shut down 24 stores during 2017. The retailer continues to be under a great deal of financial pressure, but is moving forward with the sort of strategy most retailers probably need to come to terms with — a mobile-first strategy that ties in with brick-and-mortar where it can.