Sports Authority Tests New Intuitive Store Format In Puerto Rico
By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor
Expansion to Puerto Rico part of the company’s goal to reach 500 stores
Sports Authority recently opened its first Puerto Rican store in Ponce on October 19. This is the first store to debut a new format the company is describing as “intuitive” because it enables customers to find what they need easily. The store, with its specialty sport shops and spacious layout, has been designed to ensure each customer has a good shopping experience. The company has hired more than 70 new employees for the Ponce store, however the anticipation is to hire more employees in San Juan, where the company will be opening two more stores.
In addition to offering an improved layout and ensuring the store is equipped with plenty of employees to assist customers, the store is also inviting customers to join its loyalty program, the League. The loyalty program gives members a point for each dollar spent, and the members who earn more than 100 points within a quarterly period can receive 5 percent back on all in-store merchandise.
Sports Authority is one of several large sporting goods retailers undergoing expansions in 2013. Dick’s Sporting Goods plans to open 40 new stores by the end of 2013, while Big 5 Sporting Goods plans to focus their expansion efforts on the West Coast where they hope to open 25 stores. In addition to its store opening in Puerto Rico, Sports Authority aims to add thirty stores in the U.S., reaching 500 stores by the end of the year. The company currently has 470 stores nationwide.
One of the company’s most notable expansions occurred in August 2010 when it launched its chain, S.A. Elite. Following extensive consumer research in the form of advanced basket analysis and ethnography, the company determined the need for a chain catered to the high-end consumer that sold performance apparel, footwear, and accessories from premier brands, such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Asics.
In regard to this most recent expansion, CEO of Sports Authority, Michael E. Foss, cites Puerto Rico’s “sporting legacy” as being well suited to the Sports Authority brand. Similarly, considering the community’s sporting legacy, the company could be an important brand for the market’s families, athletes, and fans.