Dick's Sporting Goods is buying Moosejaw, the ecommerce outdoor apparel company that's been owned by Walmart since 2017.
The move fits nicely with Dick’s deepening commitment to Public Lands, the outdoor retail concept with a 2021 launch. There are now seven stores, each with experiential components designed to put it in league with the likes of L.L.Bean and REI. These include climbing walls, gear repair, and the ability to rent or test-drive everything from snowshoes to fly rods.
Dick’s is looking to build on one of the more enduring pandemic trends, with Americans eager to spend more time outdoors. The Outdoor Industry Association says that the number of people getting outside reached a new record in its most recent report, with 54% of Americans aged six and older participating in at least one outdoor activity in 2021. That marks a 7% gain since the start of the pandemic.
Core participation, however, defined as people getting outdoors at least 51 times a year, has been declining, from 72% in 2007 to 59% in 2021. But new participants are increasingly diverse in age and ethnicity. The fastest-growing group are those aged 65 and older.
That’s sparked significant gains in sales. The NPD Group reports that sales in the outdoor industry rose an average of 19% in its most recent annual analysis, with outdoor apparel sales rising 21% to $15.9 billion, footwear sales up 18% to $5.3 billion, equipment sales up 11% to $5.8 billion, and accessories climbing 35% to $1.3 billion.
Dick's didn't disclose the terms of the deal. Walmart paid $51 million when it acquired the Madison Heights, Michigan-based company, when Walmart was struggling to find an ecommerce strategy that made sense. That era included other acquisitions, such as $217 million for Bonobos, a menswear company it still owns, and ModCloth, which it sold off in 2019.
"We admire what Moosejaw has accomplished over the past 30 years as leaders in the outdoor industry and look forward to the opportunity to share insights and learn from one another," says Todd Spaletto, president of Public Lands, in its announcement. "We believe there's potential to grow the Moosejaw business and provide compelling experiences and an expanded product assortment to its millions of loyal customers."