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Mon, Aug 28, 2017
Vol 1, Issue No. 33
Monday, September 11, 2017
Volume 1, Issue No. 35

All Over The Map
The Price Is (Almost Never) Right

Nearly all retailers and brand vendors can agree on one aspect of the shifting and consolidating world of U.S. retail—the pricing landscape is no longer easily navigable. Excess inventories combined with slowing traffic trends and some shoppers’ insatiable appetites for the next bargain can make retailers and vendors alike go “promotion crazy” to chase another dollar and another customer. Add in a dose of third-party consumers re-selling merchandise on websites such as Ebay and Amazon at whatever prices and the debacle only gets messier.

Maintaining Minimum Advertised Pricing, or MAP as it’s better known, across channels is becoming increasingly difficult to uphold. While Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack thinks the current promotional climate will be the “new normal for a while” and that “price transparency is here to stay,” Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO John Schaefer is sure the increasing number of companies/brands taking their products to consumers direct will soon force “a better job of MAP policing,” and in turn, “that will create a more even playing field for everyone” selling merchandise.

MAP agreements between vendors and retailers exist for a number of reasons, according to CPC Strategy. Most importantly, they promote fair competition across all distribution channels, prevent underpricing, protect margins, maintain brand identity/value and allow smaller sellers to compete with larger retailers. Still, online behemoth Amazon is said to be hesitant to enforce seller agreements for risk of losing revenue since it takes a percentage of all third-party sales in its marketplace.

Only Friday, Target Corp. used its website to announce it had “lowered prices on thousands of items.” The proclamation set off concerns about a possible price war commencing some 10 weeks before Black Friday and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Days earlier last week, the National Retail Federation, citing revisions to Census Bureau retail sales figures and personal income and consumption adjustments by economists, dropped its annual 2017 retail sales growth forecast to 3.2 to 3.8 percent from 3.7 to 4.2 percent.

Stack, who says Dick’s is expecting some vendor help on better differentiating the premium products it sells, isn’t convinced improvements and better policing of MAP are coming any time soon. He also confirms the southern U.S. is “a bit more competitive from a pricing standpoint” than other geographic regions “and we don’t see that ending any time soon.” The retailer hopes to offset some of the margin it has last in the promotional environment with its stable of own brands.

Manny Chirico, Chairman and CEO of PVH Corp., speaking at a Goldman Sachs retail conference last week, confirmed open-to-buy dollars within the department store channel for the second half of 2017 shrunk 3 to 10 percent. The more conservative buying pattern should bode well for margins although he believes the holiday season will be as promotional as last year. A couple of factors have contributed positively to Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger sales momentum over the last six weeks—cooler than normal weather that has prompted more full-price selling early in the fall season and the return of international tourists.

Project Play 2020 Aims to Get America’s Youth Moving More

More than a dozen sports, health, media and other organizations are teaming up to develop shared goals to make sports activity accessible to youth, regardless of zip code or ability. The multi-year effort, dubbed “Project Play 2020,” is being spearheaded by The Aspen Institute. Tom Cove, president and CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, is a member of the organization that is an extension of Project Play that began in 2013.

There are 17 founding members of Project Play 2020 that will focus on two of its strategies initially—Encourage Sport Sampling and Train All Coaches. Nike, Target Corp., NBC Sports Group, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Dick’s Sporting Goods, U.S. Olympic Committee, Hospital for Special Surgery, PGA of America, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, New York Road Runners, National Fitness Foundation, American College of Sports Medicine, Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, Sports Facilities Advisory, the SFIA, and the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University are the initial members. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is the technical liaison to the group.   Project Play 2020 was launched recently at the 2017 Project Play Summit in Washington, D.C. There, The Aspen Institute released data that showed only 36.9 percent of children ages 6-to-12 played team sports regularly in 2016, down from 41.4 percent in 2012.

More information on The Aspen Institute and Project Play 2020 is available at:

In a related development, the four-year old, non-profit PHIT America, focused on reversing the U.S. inactivity pandemic through a number of initiatives, will now get assistance with messaging and reach from The Brand Amp, a national sports PR and marketing firm.

Retail Round-up:
Zumiez Embraces New Brands; L.L. Bean Being ‘An Outsider’

Photo by Mike Mozart, flickr

Zumiez, the global specialty retailer with 693 stores worldwide, is taking measures to increase customer engagement at its 606 U.S. locations and will increase focus on “hyper-localized” merchandise assortments that play to local trends. Part of that strategy will be striking the right balance between established brands and newer labels. This year, ZUMZ says it intends to launch over 100 new brands in stores, even as it becomes more selective with new door openings that are forecast to reach 12 in the U.S. and Canada this fiscal year. In the second quarter ended July 29, the retailer generated a 4.7 increase in same store sales in a fourth consecutive period of positive comparable sales and transaction improvement. The comparable sales trend continued in August and early September, rising 7.4 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

L.L.Bean is launching a new advertising campaign this month dubbed “Be An Outsider” that focuses on the fun of being outside.

“We’re doubling down. We need to be clear about who we are and what our identity is, and then communicate in a very compelling way to customers, knowing that others are collapsing around us,” L.L.Bean CEO Steve Smith told the Associated Press.

Athleta, along with Old Navy, are the growth focuses of The Gap. The retailer intends to open approximately 270 doors of the formats over the next three years while it shutters about 200 Gap and Banana Republic doors. As for Athleta specifically, Gap hopes to take the chain over $1 billion in revenues within the next few years.

Scheels will open a store in Johnstown, CO on September 30. The 250,000-sq.-ft. location features 85 specialty shops, a Ferris wheel and a restaurant.

Amazon has seen the race among U.S. cities to host its second, $5 billion headquarters begin. Frontrunners, according to, are: Austin, Denver and Chicago. Bloomberg has Boston, Washington and Atlanta in the mix. Tax breaks, office space cost and an available talent pool will undoubtedly factor into the decision.

Hibbett Sports has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with University of Alabama football.

Big Three Stepping Forward

Nike, which last month revealed “The Ten” design project with Virgil Abloh who is bringing 10 iconic Swoosh styles to another level through his unique design twists, is opening the Nike Makers’ Experience at Nike By You Studio in New York. The Greenwich Village location is launching an invitation-only experience initially that will combine digital design with traditional footwear making on the Nike Presto X to produce a customized product in a short period.

Adidas has collaborated with producer Mike WiLL Made-It and rapper YG on a music track, ”Heart of a Lion,” that was inspired by endorser Von Miller’s Super Bowl 50 training. The Three Stripes is introducing its Z.N.E. Pulse apparel collection ($110-200 retail) in conjunction with the pre-game anthem that will be available tonight on Soundcloud and before the Broncos’ games against the Chargers.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told Goldman Sachs conference attendees, “A lot of people focus on what we don’t have, not what we have. We have enough.” Later, speaking to the brand’s distribution strategy, he confirmed the company would not add new “significant new big boxes” but instead focus on continuing to improve its pricing architecture and segmented approach.

Private Label and Exclusives Crucial over Long-Term for Dick’s

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack thinks the nation’s largest full-line sporting goods retailer could double its private label business over the next five years. The retailer’s current stable of own brands includes its highly successful CALIA brand endorsed by Carrie Underwood, Field & Stream and Top-Flite in golf.

“There are opportunities (for private label products) where there are some holes (in the assortment),” Stack told analysts last week. DKS’ merchandising strategy focuses on a combination of strategic vendors (one or two per segment), transactional brands and its own labels. The company has eliminated 20 percent of its vendor base to follow the new approach.   Stack confirmed the ongoing consolidation in sporting goods retail as beneficial to the chain and the retailer’s decision to grow further organically rather than through acquisition.

“It’s a difficult environment we’re in, but we love the position we are in as we look out over the next two years,” he told analysts last week. He likened Dick’s current market position to Best Buy’s five years ago. “It was left for dead but has come back strong by focusing on the consumer experience.”

Dick’s, continuing to explore better ways to showcase “hot” brands and its private brands in stores, will become more flexible in moving product locations, including expanded merchandise tests in every location’s power aisle.

Ross Hopcus is New PrAna President

Hopcus is shifting into the new role where he will relocate to PrAna’s headquarters in Carlsbad, CA. He previously served as SVP of North America for the Columbia brand. He joined Columbia Sportswear in 2013. Meanwhile, Joe Craig, an eight-year COLM veteran who has served as VP of U.S. apparel sales for the Columbia brand since 2013, is taking over as SVP of North American sales. And Dean Rurak, a 21-year company veteran who has been VP of Apparel Merchandising since January, is now the Columbia brand’s VP of U.S. apparel sales.

Hurricane Relief Update

An hour-long Hand in Hand telethon tomorrow night will raise funds for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Already, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Apple have donated $5 million each to the cause.

Meanwhile, other industry organizations and sports figures continue to help the cause. The NFL’s JJ Watt has now raised $30 million in 13 days following an initial goal of $200,000 for those affected by Harvey. Academy Sports + Outdoors has donated more than $2.5 million in Harvey aid as its Katy, TX headquarters continued as a command center and shelter for hundreds of first responders. The retailer, which has 37 stores in the greater Houston market, also organized a customer donation effort at all of its 238 stores nationwide and online at with all donations pegged for the American Red Cross. Hanesbrands, meanwhile, donated more than $2 million worth of underwear, socks, T-shirts and fleece shipped from its NC, CA and VA distribution centers into Houston.

The Buzz

CVS Pharmacy is installing “Health & Wellness” vending machines across the Northeast, including Boston’s South Station and LaGuardia Airport in New York, that will feature 70 products. Selections are said to include over-the-counter remedies, vitamins, healthy snacks and office supplies. No word yet if companies in sporting goods segment will be part of the effort, which kicks off with 25 installed machines by Oct. 31 and in office parks and on college campuses.

Amer Sports recently altered its 2020 Growth Plan to “mid-single digit organic, currency-neutral growth” instead of a prior revenue target of 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion) by 2020.

Camtrade Footwear is introducing new women’s athleisure footwear collection under its Secret Celebrity brand this fall that will be expanded for Spring 2018.

Tubes of the Week


Numbers In Play
Week of 8/31-9/07
The Sports Insight Index is our opinion of what we think are the 30 most important public companies in the industry, 15 vendors and 15 retailers. Space considerations prevent us from tracking more, but we will make changes over time.
Index base of 100 is key to the closing prices of 12/31/14
Good start to the month for both Indexes, each up more than 5 percent for the period. All but Shoe Carnival rose on the retail side. SCVL took a big one-week hit after rising 10 percent in August, including a 22 percent jump on the month’s final day. Kohl’s will open 1,000-square-feet “Amazon Smart Experience” sections in 10 locations next month. The test has at least one analyst suggesting it could be a precursor to a takeover of the department store chain by the online behemoth. Cabela’s long-awaited merger with Bass Pro Shops is approved by the Feds, which should be the final step before the transaction is approved in October. But still no word what stores, etc. will survive post-merger. Genesco, which hit a 52-week low on Aug. 21, was down 65 percent year-to-date on August 31. New NBA and NHL merchandise hits the Lids chain next month.
One more uptick and the Index will hit its Dec. 31, 2014 level. Twelve out of 15 were up for the period, led by GoPro. The action camera maker saw its shares surge on forecasts that its third quarter revenues and gross margin will be at the high end of guidance. HERO6 product launches before holiday. Spherical camera FUSION launches before year-end. Just in time for NFL stadium tailgating, the start of the college school year and next month’s Octoberfest, Adidas rolls out a beer and vomit-proof sneaker. Fitbit’s upcoming smartwatch, which has many brand alliances that include Adidas and Visa, will be compatible with Dexcom’s glucose monitoring sensor. That may be a breakthrough for diabetes tracking. Skechers signs former Oregon star and 17-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek to endorse its Performance collection.





Retail Name (Ticker Symbol)
Close on 08/31/17
Close on 09/07/17
% change over time
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV)
Cabela's (CAB)
Camping World (CWH)
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
Finish Line (FINL)
Foot Locker (FL)
Genesco (GCO)
Hibbett Sports (HIBB)
Kohl’s (KSS)
Macy’s (M)
Sportsman’s Warehouse (SPWH)
Shoe Carnival (SCVL)
Tilly’s (TLYS)
Walmart (WMT)
Zumiez (ZUMZ)
Brand Name (Ticker Symbol)
Close on 08/31/17
Close on 09/07/17
% change over time
Acushnet Holdings (GOLF)
adidas (ADDYY)
Amer Sports (AGPDY)
Callaway (ELY)
Columbia Sportwear (COLM)
Deckers Brands (DECK)
Fitbit (FIT)
GoPro (GPRO)
lululemon (LULU)
Nautilus (NLS)
Nike (NKE)
Skechers (SKX)
Under Armour (UA)
VF Corp. (VFC)
Wolverine Worldwide (WWW)

Sports Insight Extra Podcast Series

Bob Smith

The design consultant who began his 20-year career as a graphic artist for Nike dishes on the blur between lifestyle and performance and the importance of Struktur, the creative conference for active, outdoor and urban design.

Rob & Mike Barnes

The co-founders of Selkirk Sports, a Hayden, ID maker of Pickleball paddles and accessories, dish on the rise of the sport that counted 2.5 million participants in 2015.

Brendan Candon

CEO of SidelineSwap, an online marketplace for used sports gear and equipment, dishes on the market and whether it steps on the toes of traditional, full-line retailers.

Dave McGillivray

The long-time race director and long-distance runner weighs in on marathon participation, the future of event marketing and his latest venture that may bring a marathon to a MLB ballpark near you.

Paul Froio

Reebok’s VP of U.S. Retail and Direct-to-Consumer channels talks about the company’s new South Boston headquarters and adjacent global flagship store.

Aquiles M. Bermùdez P.

The former president of the Dominican Association of Free Zone Companies and current member of the National Commission of Footwear addresses the industry, Dominican Republic’s infrastructure and Footwear Technology Institute.

W. Andrew Martin

The managing director for Baird in Charlotte, NC discusses the M&A climate, consumer loyalty to brands today and the impact of private label.

Mark Sullivan

The president of Formula4Media, LLC previews The Running Event conference and trade show set for November 28-December 1 in Austin, Texas.

Bryan Smeltzer

The general manager of Zamst Americas talks sports protectives, dispelling some of the consumer and athlete misconceptions about the category.

Emily Walzer

Formula4Media colleagues Emily Walzer, Textile Insight editor, Jennifer Beaudry-Ernst, footwear specialist, and contributor Kurt Gray, owner of SimplyGrayDesign, dish on key trends from the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City.

Judith A. Russell

Shifting consumer purchasing patterns are vital to understanding today’s marketplace. Russell, a marketing and strategic planning professional, offered up her thoughts at TexWorld in New York on a panel with Sports Insight Extra’s Bob McGee.

Will Decker

Family-owned Silicon Valley firm Plug and Play, which dubs itself the “Ultimate Startup Ecosystem,” has raised over $6 billion in venture funding during its 11 years while bringing corporations, venture capitalists and start-ups together.

Matthew Lyon

In the fragmented hydration market, where price points for performance products are on the rise, HydraPak is an OE supplier to numerous brands and has its own lightweight, flexible products.

Eric Hayes

Superfeet Celebrates 40th Anniversary. The employee-owned company introduces footwear and rolls out a 3D printed insole program.

Shawn Neville

BOA introduces New Tech and Names New CEO. Nothing will constrict Boa Technology CEO Shawn Neville from helping the Denver company improve its customized fit solution.

Waingarten and Frydlewski

No strings attached. The married Argentinean couple has raised nearly $20 million for Hickies, a Brooklyn company addressing how athletic shoes are closed around the foot two eyelets at a time.

Michelle Carmichael

The Co-founder and Managing Partner of Partners Growth, which brings premium brands into the U.S. market, talks Finnish children’s wear brand Reima. 

Brian Beckstead

Six-year old Altra is teaming with Utah State University to develop outdoor design talent.

Declan Condron

Let's Go Hyperwear: Former Equinox personal trainer merges the innovative, functional fitness gear from Austin, TX company with programming for schools, camps and institutions.

Hugues Gontier

Sly and Simple. and its technology enable a retailer to interact with customers in store and track traffic. No beacon required. The CMO explains the benefits of the platform.

Reza Raji

The CEO of Xenio Systems talks about the company’s new platform that tracks where shoppers spend time in physical stores and its patented hyper-positioning technology.

Jacob Torres Espino

The director of export promotion for Mexico’s Guanajuato State government agency addresses the proposed impact of the Border Adjustment Tax by the U.S. and the possibility of a renegotiated NAFTA free trade agreement.

Isabelle Ohnemus

The founder and CEO of EyeFitU, a former investment banker, talks ‘glocal’ assortments, shoppers’ personal sizing and global web payment options.

Tom Cove #2

The president and CEO of the SFIA addresses the most serious threat the industry has faced in the past half-century and the expected re-introduction of the PHIT Act by Congress.

Matteo Scarparo

The Italian global trade expert in footwear talks about the present and future of TheMicam trade show and the potential impact of a Border Adjustment Tax in the U.S. on imported shoes.

Dr. James Eakin

Dr. James Eakin, chief marketing officer and director of U.S. operations for Xenoma, discusses the Japan company’s e-skin shirt and entire wearable category.

Rusty Saunders

Industry senior statesman Rusty Saunders dishes on industry leadership, pressing issues and the inactivity pandemic.

Barbara Barclay

Expert Barbara Barclay, president of RightEye, talks eye-tracking technology and her company’s recent alliance with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.

Julie Sylvester

Julie Sylvester, Executive Producer at Living in Digital Times, talks trends likely to emerge at Sports and FitnessTech Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer, Founder and CEO of BoxFox, talks excess inventory and solutions for vendors, retailers and distributors.

Susie McCabe

Susie McCabe, SVP of global retail for Under Armour who previously spent 16 years at The Ralph Lauren Corp., dishes on UA’s retail strategy and new Brand House in Boston.

Tom Cove

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Rich Harper

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Stephen Lamar

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Bill McInnis

The president of Reebok Future discusses the intent of the unit and the brand’s plans to develop footwear in a new way.

Tom Fowler

Polar USA CEO Tom Fowler talks technology and the future of smart wearables.

Paul Schille

TREW CEO Paul Schille dishes on the eight-year old company in the process of completing its Series A round of funding and his dual career.

Jason Kaplan

Milestone Sports CEO Jason Kaplan dishes on the company’s low-cost, wearable pod and how it will help specialty retailers connect.

Duncan Finigan

OOFOS marketing executive talks about the recovery footwear brand and candidly about her courageous personal health journey.

Matt Priest

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America President Matt Priest the likelihood of the Trans-Pacific Partnership being passed soon.

David and Josh Higgins

ING Source executives dish about compression technology and the Hickory, NC company’s breakthrough OS1st Brace Layer System.

Charles Liberge

Jones & Vining’s Charles Liberge addresses strategies and directions for the iconic brand.

Jim Baugh

PHIT America’s Jim Baugh dishes on the inactivity pandemic.

Sue Dooley and John Daher

Rockport Group senior executives talk about the brand’s fresh start under new ownership that has a major emphasis on versatility.

Josh Shaw

Mission Athletecare CEO Josh Shaw says thermoregulation is the New York company’s singular focus.

Tim Porth

Tim Porth of Octane Fitness talks trends, Zero Runner and the company’s January acquisition by Nautilus Inc.

David Costello

The principal and founder of Rising Tide Associates talks about industry advocate lobbying for the domestic textile and footwear industries.

Steven D’Angelo

The ‘47 brand executive dishes on the Boston company and long-time MLB licensee founded by his father Arthur and his late Uncle Henry.

Pam Gelsomini and CB Tuite

Pam Gelsomini, president, and CB Tuite, VP–sales, discuss the company’s products, partnerships and what’s new for the season ahead.

Kenneth G. Andres

The tradeshowdirector for the American Sportfishing Association casts comments on the activity’s popularity, and trends in fishing.

Dick Sullivan

The principal and founder of Rising Tide Associates talks about industry advocate lobbying for the domestic textile.

Dave Coradini

The VP of sales and sponsorships for Spalding, Dave Coradini talks Shot Tracker and basketball.

Scott McGuire

The executive brand and product innovation leader dishes to F4M’s Emily Walzer on an array of topics.

Kelly Davis

Snow Sports Industries of America’s Kelly Davis talks weather, participation trends and how to handle the psyche.

Kevin Davis

The CEO of Performance Sports Group dishes on new bat standards and Own the Moment.

Gene McCarthy, Pt 2

Gene McCarthy, president of Asics America, speaks to Jen Ernst Beaudry on specialty run and more in the second part of the podcast.

Gene McCarthy, Pt 1

Gene McCarthy, new president of Asics Americas, dishes to F4M’s Jen Ernst Beaudry in the first of a two-part podcast.

Richie Woodworth

Saucony’s Richie Woodworth offers his views on brand’s running business and what it takes to manage through change.

Bruce Cazenave

Bruce Cazenave, CEO of Nautilus Inc., recently ranked 23rd on Fortune’s “Fastest Growing Companies” list.

Tony Armand

Armand is leading USB, created after the April merger of Shock Doctor and McDavid.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith has been at the helm of the Lawrence, MA firm for three years, and his 2016 strategies will broaden Polartec’s scope.

Marty Hanaka

City Sports CEO Marty Hanaka has 42 years in retail, starting at Sears in 1973.

Mike Dowse

Wilson Sporting Goods, one year removed from its 100th anniversary and a major restructuring, has a renewed focus and strategy.