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Mon, Aug 28, 2017
Vol 1, Issue No. 33
Monday, January 22, 2018
Volume 2, Issue No. 03

Investments in Tech Bound to Reshape Retail

Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going anywhere, but how consumers interface with it will certainly evolve in the years ahead. Technology will be the game changer. Artificial intelligence, 3-D holograms, smart shelves, advanced data analytics, the customer experience and electronic shelf labels were among the key buzzwords at last week’s annual National Retail Federation Show in New York. And there was much speculation about how retailers and vendors might direct some of their impending federal tax savings into technology investments for 2019 and beyond.

“The challenge, we believe, is in change,” proclaimed Gajendra Singh Hiran, chief business officer at Wooqer. “Many retailers haven’t invested in their stores, and are operating in a very archaic manner. That is the problem. Many are now realizing that and are embracing change, but the rest are merely trying to copy Amazon.”

IBM executives pointed out how the evolution of technologies, including its artificial intelligence-driven Watson customer engagement, can help retailers make better decisions and improve their overall Return on Investment. AI has hit an inflection point and is no longer just available to early adopters, a company executive suggested, citing Watson’s ability to offer instant analysis on everything from weather conditions in key markets to customer sentiment.
Meanwhile,, introduced an A1 cognitive selling platform to deliver human-like selling interactions on any digital channel for retailers, including in-store displays. The technology, in trial mode for three months, has been deployed at two large U.S. wine retailers initially. Its virtual sales assistant uses a combination of 27 selling techniques to create buying rationale and match specific products to shoppers’ needs.

Profitect, a Burlington, MA company that works with the likes of DSW, Luxottica, Oakley and Sunglass Hut, identifies and isolates issues for retailers to improve such as store inventory allocation. There are also movements underway to introduce 3-D holograms as marketing mechanisms in store and software that allows shoppers to sync online shopping carts with in-store purchases via a link with ApplePay on your iPhone. ProVision says its technology, used in 700 RiteAid stores for two years and being introduced in 17,000 grocery stores on top of Coinstar machines, has the capability to offer holographic catalogs in store. NCR, meanwhile, has new intelligent image scanners that can recognize items placed on a shelf to make the checkout process simpler.

Impinj, which sells chips for RFID tagging on products, says the technology (8.5 billion products are now tagged) via the use of multiple in-store antennas improves stock accuracy and increases product margins. An October-released study by Auburn University suggested RFID’s proof of concept in retail rose 29 percent in the prior 12 months.

Specific industry technology adoptions were announced at the NRF Show. Among them:

REI is launching the TXT Retail Planning cloud solution from Aptos that will accelerate the co-operative’s initiative to create localized assortments in each of its 150 stores and two online sites. The technology is said to improve collaboration in assortment planning, stronger visualization and enhanced capabilities to support both retail and wholesale buying.

Modell’s is deploying the TCS OmniStore Unified Store Commerce Suite from Tata Consultancy Services in all of its doors on Feb. 1. The technology will help the New York-based chain move to a next-generation Point-of-Sale solution that will improve personalized customer service and loyalty program capabilities. Omnistore reduces a retailers’ cost of ownership by eliminating the need to be tied to proprietary hardware typically prescribed by traditional POS solutions.

K2 Sports Lands New President

John Colanna (above), a 20-year industry veteran with former stints at Burton Snowboards, Nike, Levi’s and Converse, is the new president of K2 Sports. The Seattle company, which has 10 brands in its portfolio, was acquired by Kohlberg & Company in July 2017. 

Cabela’s former CEO Tommy Millner, has joined Pflugerville, Texas-based TrackingPoint, an optics company, as a special advisor. Before his nine years at Cabela’s, Millner was president and CEO of Remington Arms for 14 years.

Academy Sports & Outdoors recently named Michael Mullican as CFO. He had had the position on an interim basis since September 2017.

Earth Treks Climbing and Fitness/Planet Granite names Robert Cohen, the former VP of global retail for Patagonia and prior Gap and Nike executive, CEO. He will oversee the company’s nine retail centers and future locations for parent Tengram Capital Partners.

Cole Haan hires former Kate Spade & Co. CFO Tom Linko for the same position to serve under company CEO Jack Boys.

Johnson Health Tech names Michael Conlan, managing director for Australia and Reginaldo Recchi, managing director for Brazil.

MTB Bill Headed to Senate; NAFTA Talks Continue

The U.S. House of Representatives, ahead of the federal government shutdown January 20, approved a package of Miscellaneous Tariff Bills last week that will reduce or suspend import duties on certain products for three years. Ten footwear MTBs submitted by the Outdoor Industry Association, covering a wide range of styles, were included in the final House package that moves to the Senate for a final vote. Later this year, the OIA will solicit ideas for 2019 MTBs.

• The negotiation process for a possible revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the U.S., Canada and Mexico will continue with talks in Montreal this week. Some parties want any changes to the pact made before Mexico’s presidential election this summer, and Canada and Mexico are expected to commence counterproposals to U.S. demands made by the Trump Administration.
• Global growth outlook is elevated to 3.9 percent in both 2018 and 2019 by the International Monetary Fund, citing surprising gains in Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, the IMF says the U.S. federal tax changes will accelerate U.S. growth by 1.2 percent annually through 2020 before negatively impacting expansion for a few years in 2022.
• U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, 80, is reportedly facing increased scrutiny from the Trump Administration and could be ousted from his post for his inability to stay awake on the job.

The Buzz

Acushnet Holdings, parent of Titleist and FootJoy, acquires Utah-based Links & Kings, a designer and marketer of luxury leather golf and lifestyle products. L&K, founded in 2010 by CEO Adam Heindorf, will continue to operate from its Alpine, UT headquarters where its numerous products, including travel bags and head covers, are produced.

BSN Sports acquires Gulf Coast Athletic Supply, based in Sugar Land, Texas. GCAS has served the team market in the south coast region of the Lone Star State, including Houston, since 1990.

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) recognizes 10 companies as Recognized Responsible Footwear Manufacturers. Seven new recipients for 2017 are: Putian Apex Footwear, Ju Hui Footwear Company Ltd., Dongguan Properwell, Ho Hsin Tai Co. and Huizhou Lighthouse Shoes Co. Ltd., all of China; Roll Sport (Vietnam) and PT Oga Mas Utama (Indonesia). Three renewed recipients were: Remington Products Co. (U.S.), Wenzhou Taiyangshen Shoe Co. (China) and Ram Fashion Exports Pvt Ltd. (India).

Outdoor Industry Association is partnering with Jansport in 2018 to grow the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy in 2018. The SYFLA, named for Jansport’s founder due to his legacy as a founder, mentor and leader in the outdoor industry, will welcome 35 individuals to its program in 2018, its third year. The student roll includes two from nonprofits, who will participate in the program on scholarships paid by REI.

Sparta Science, a Silicon Valley company that applies data and technology in the areas of proven injury prediction and recovery monitoring technology into clinical settings, secures $7 million in a series A investment round led by Playground Global. The Cleveland Cavaliers, NFL’s 49ers and Rutgers University are among the pro and collegiate that currently utilize the Sparta software platform.

VF Corp. is establishing a new 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Jonestown, Pennsylvania that will be fully operational in early 2019 and handle Vans, The North Face and Timberland products. An estimated 175 jobs will be created from the $52-million facility.

Tubes of the Week


Numbers In Play
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
The Dow Jones tops 26,000 before falling more than 97 points on the final day of the period. Eight stocks rise, two remain unchanged and five decline as the Index gains more than 2.3 percent for the week. Camping World identifies 67 Gander Outdoors locations and when they will open by May 31, including 11 stores in Wisconsin. Gander has already launched a website revamp. Kohl’s stock surge continues after the strong holiday and upgrades by JPMorgan and RBC Capital. Foot Locker surpasses the average analyst target price of $47. Shoe Carnival sees its fourth quarter EPS dropped to $.04 a share from $0.16 by Jefferies, which has a hold on the stock and a $26 target price.
Ahead of the U.S. government shutdown, Index remained steady for second straight week with seven up and eight down for the period. Adidas board member Eric Liedtke joins the board of Carbon, the Three Stripes’ partner in 3D printing and the introduction of the Futurecraft 4D shoe in a limited-edition NYC release at $400 a pop. Adidas-Carbon relationship could be “tip of the iceberg” for a broader partnership between the two companies, ponders Techcrunch. Meanwhile, reports suggest Under Armour investors are losing their patience with the stock with Macquarie Capital opining that UAA’s deteriorating situation may force it to raise capital in the near-term. Under Armour’s FY18 revenues are projected to decline 7 percent in North America but increase 21 percent internationally. Nike promotes 25-year company veteran Dirk-Jan Van Hameren to Chief Marketing Officer to replace Greg Hoffman, who moves to VP of global brand creative and marketing innovation. Lululemon recently hired Réne Paringaux as brand creative director to focus on creative content and experiences following the departure of Lee Holman, creative director and SVP, for personal reasons. LULU will shortly announce a key new staffer in women’s design. A day after the period closes, NKE shares hit a two-year high after two analysts predicted the company will score higher margins from selling direct rather than through wholesalers. Fitbit sees diabetes management as its next frontier, and has invested $6 million in a company that makes coin-size glucose monitor and is partnering with One Drop and United Healthcare on a pilot diabetes management program. Nautilus debuts a new website hosting system where customers may access site for Bowflex, Nautilus, Schwinn and Modern Movement from a single URL and place products from the four site into a single digital shopping cart.





Retail Name (Ticker Symbol)
Close on 01/11/17
Close on 01/18/18
% change over week
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV)
Sports Direct (LON: SPD)
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 01/11/17
Close on 01/18/18
% change over week
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

Nikki Barua

The old way of retail is dead, and there is a massive opportunity to re-invent, proclaims the CEO of Beyond Curious in Los Angeles.

Matt O’Toole

President of Reebok dishes on the brand’s mission and objectives from its headquarters in Boston.

Gabriella Santaniello

Retail expert dishes on what’s going right and wrong in industry today and weighs in on the Walmart vs. Amazon tussle.

Guy Yehiav

The CEO of Profitect addresses the right medicine for changing the paradigm of accountability—prescriptive analytics.

Pat Ryan

Batter Up! The global product director for baseball/softball at Wilson Sports details the new USA Baseball standard that took effect January 1 and what it means when you hit the store this spring looking for a new stick for junior.

Patrick Clark

President of Nextwave, a Buford, GA system integrator, discusses benefits of an on-demand apparel microfactory, a bridge to Just In Time manufacturing, from Sourcing at MAGIC in Las Vegas.

Shawn McBride

Ketchum Sports & Entertainment EVP talks Olympics—impact of three consecutive Games in Asia, social media, corporate guerilla marketing and drawing in younger consumers.

Tyson McGuffin

Tennis pro Tyson McGuffin, 28, talks about the rising popularity of pickleball and how he became a champion in the sport.

Bob Mullaney

The 20-year shoe and retail industry veteran, recently named president and CEO of RG Brands, dishes on the comfort footwear business and Barry’s iconic Dearfoams brand.

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.