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How Academy Sports keeps sellers like Nike and Adidas happy

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Academy Sports and Outdoors just posted record third quarter results. This success has been fueled by strong relationships with key suppliers such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, The North Face and Colombia.

Academy posted an 18.1 percent increase in net sales to $ 1.59 billion, a third quarter record. Comparable sales increased for the 9th consecutive quarter and merchandise inventories increased 22.4% year over year to $ 1.3 billion. As a result of these strong numbers, Academy has raised its sales and profit guidance for the entire year.

Academy shares rose at least 7% by early Friday afternoon.

Despite supply chain slowdowns and record inflation, the company managed to achieve its strongest inventory position in two years. To explain the success, executives highlighted the company’s “status as a preferred supplier partner” and its “extensive supplier base,” Academy CFO Michael Mullican said on a call with experts. investors.

In a year in which leading brands such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armor have ended some retail partnerships to focus on DTC channels, retailers that remain important channels for these brands are seeing returns. significant gains. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods, FN’s 2021 Retailer of the Year, has maintained a close bond with Nike through a beneficial supplier relationship and a new digital partnership. Hibbett Sports builds on a strong relationship with Nike and Adidas by focusing on selling in “underserved markets” where there is less competition.

Likewise, Academy has proven to be an important channel for these brands, thanks to a few key advantages and strategies.

“They want to make sure that they partner with people who celebrate the brand, both in physical and digital stores, and that they really stand up for what they stand for,” said Academy Marketing Director Steve Lawrence in an interview with FN. He explained that Academy represents products according to a brand’s vision both online and in-store. This means that the brand’s identity is preserved, even when it is distributed in stores.

As an outdoor retailer, Academy also puts big brands in front of people who might not buy directly from a brand’s website, such as a cash-only consumer or someone who enjoys shopping online. anybody. Hibbett and Dick’s, also preferred partners of major brands, offer similar advantages.

“We’re giving them access to a customer base that they probably aren’t reaching through their own marketing and through their own site,” said Lawrence.

But overall, Academy has proven to be the top choice for outdoor products as well as footwear and apparel. And when more people come to shop and explore, brands are happy.

“I think we have proven that over the past couple of years we are definitely a destination for young families active in our market, where they come for sports and the outdoors, recreation, back to school, etc. Laurent said.