With 'Sports Change Lives,' Dick's Builds On Winning Results

Dick's Sporting Goods, currently the envy of many retailers, is rolling out a new brand campaign showcasing how athletics turn kids into better people.

Themed "Sports Change Lives," the effort celebrates the brand's 75th birthday and lands just after the Pittsburgh company reported record sales for both the fourth quarter and full year, beating Wall Street expectations.

The campaign is Dick's first new brand effort in 10 years, created by Art & Letters Creative Co. It features vignettes that show how sports lead to positive growth off the field, from overcoming loss to building confidence.

Dick's is also becoming an official sponsor of the NCAA, starting with March Madness. And it's stepping up its charitable efforts, establishing "75for75," a new grant program to distribute 75 grants of $75,000 each to underserved youth sports programs. It says gifts will total $5.6 million this year.



The news follows Dick's announcement of financial results. For the quarter, sales rose 7.3% to $3.59 billion, compared with $3.35 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. On a comparable-store basis, sales gained 5.3%. For the year, total sales clocked in at $12.37 billion. While that's an increase of just 0.6% from 2021, it is 41% higher than the $3.6 billion in sales from 2019.

Observers are also encouraged by the company's plan to invest between $550 million to $600 million in capital expenditures, compared to $328 million this year. That includes improvements to customer experience, such as adding full-service footwear decks in more than 100 stores.

Dick's is also expanding the House of Sport concept, opening nine more stores in the year ahead. Eight of those are conversions from its Field & Stream concept, as it exits that brand. It envisions as many as 75 new locations in the next five years.

The retailer also reports continued growth from a robust loyalty program, with those 25 million shoppers powering 70% of the company's sales.

"Dick's continues to execute well and gain share, and management's conviction in a structurally higher sales/earnings profile for the business is noteworthy," writes Justin E. Kleber, an analyst who follows Dick's for Baird.

The retailer predicts this year's comparable sales to be between flat and up 2% -- considerably more encouraging than for many other companies.

That forecast is also better news than most had expected, writes Seth Basham, an analyst who follows the company for Wedbush. "The sporting goods retail sector continues to benefit from a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, including an increased focus on health and wellness, participation in outdoor activities and a higher interest in athletic lifestyle products," he writes. While the $140 billion market is quite fragmented, Dick's has an 8% share, which increased from 7% in 2019.

"We view guidance as better than feared given a volatile macro environment and look favorably on the company's ability to drive market share gains," Basham adds.

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