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The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains

by 
Ezra Carmel
 on 
May 17, 2023
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains

When we last checked in with the sporting goods sector in early 2023, visits to DICK’s  Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports were still ahead of pre-pandemic levels, although ongoing economic headwinds were beginning to take a toll on the category. Now, almost halfway through 2023, we dove into the recent foot traffic performance for DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports and took a closer look at innovation and strategy impacting visits in some of the most competitive markets. 

Fierce Comparisons

Hibbett Sports had a strong 2022 and is looking to expand on that success in 2023. The chain is upping its game with new omnichannel capabilities that give staff a real-time view of available merchandise from anywhere in the store and allows them to order out-of-stock items to a nearby location or a customer’s home. The brand also recently implemented a returns program to accept merchandise from online retailers – intending to attract new in-store visitors. Still, last year’s strong performance lends a tough comparison for 2023. So even though weekly year-over-year (YoY) visits to the chain were down in recent weeks, these visit gaps warrant a dose of perspective.

DICK’s also appeared to be behind in YoY visits in Q1 2023 and the first several weeks of Q2, as inflation continues to plague consumers. However, the brand recently became the Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the NCAA, which comes with widespread media exposure at all NCAA Championship events. It’s likely that DICK’s will see new traffic from aspiring college athletes and college sports fans as the partnership develops. 

Fierce Competition

In order to take a closer look at the breadth of visits commanded by these brands, we conducted a True Trade Area Analysis of DICK’s and Hibbett in two of their most competitive markets – Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX and Atlanta, GA. 

DICK’s stores tend to be concentrated in more densely populated areas, while Hibbett is known to target small communities where it has limited competition – although, Hibbett also operates several more centrally located venues. And as the map below shows, the two brands’ site selection strategies enable them to operate in the same markets without stepping too much on each others’ toes. DICK’s focus on urban and suburban markets complements Hibbett’s presence in more rural areas and allows both brands to command a broad trade area that has relatively little overlap. 

Focusing on overlaps between DICK’s and Hibbett’s trade areas also reveals that a similar share of both brands’ trade areas overlapped with that of the other brand, indicating that there is ample demand in the space for both companies to succeed. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, 24.0% of Hibbett’s trade area overlapped with DICK’s and 23.0% of DICK’s overlapped with Hibbett’s. In Atlanta, 36.1% of Hibbett’s trade area overlapped with DICK’s and 33.6% of DICK’s overlapped with Hibbett’s. 

The trade area analysis shows that both brands maintain a similarly sized region in which they can drive visits without competing with each other for foot traffic. At the same time, both brands compete in an area that makes up a similar percentage of their total trade areas – meaning neither brand has an outright advantage. 

All Peachy

Zooming into individual venues in the Atlanta DMA – where the two chains' trade areas show greater overlap – reveals further differences between Hibbett and DICK’s visitors. Comparing foot traffic analytics for a Hibbett in Austell and a DICK’s at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta during Q1 2023 revealed that the Hibbett store attracted more lower-income visitors and visitors from family households. Meanwhile, DICK's drew traffic from higher-income visitors and with lower rates of family households. 

The DICK’s location at Cumberland Mall includes the state’s only Golf Galaxy store, which could contribute to the higher median household income (HHI) of visitors. The Hibbett location’s larger relative share of visitors from family households reflects a suburban audience and consumers who may be slightly more budget conscious in the current economic climate. 

Still, DICK’s is also finding ways to appeal to consumers who are tightening their belts. In 2023, the chain will host hundreds of equipment trade-in events in partnership with SidelineSwap – where consumers can earn credit towards DICK’s purchases.

Good Sports

An in-depth analysis of DICK’s and Hibbett shows that in challenging economic times, these brands look to the future with continued investment in media exposure and omnichannel services. For now, the central tenants of DICK’s and Hibbett’s brick-and-mortar strategy – an urban and suburban divide – remain true, but in areas where these brands overlap, the competition for price-sensitive athletes is fierce. 

For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit Placer.ai.

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