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Dick’s Sporting Goods—2018

www.dickssportinggoods.com (DKS)

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Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dick’s Sporting Goods (Dick’s) is a large chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores that offers a wide selection of sporting equipment, footwear, apparel, and accessories such as tennis rackets, weights, outdoor cooking equipment, bicycles, sports clothing and much more. By some accounts, Dick’s is the largest sporting goods store in the United States based on 2017 revenues, larger than Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports, and Big 5 Sporting Goods. Dick’s also operates Golf Galaxy, Field & Stream, and Dick’s Team Sports HQ. Dick’s Team Sports HQ is targeted at youth sports and provides league management services free of charge including scorekeeping, scheduling, and custom uniform designs.

Competition is intense in the retail business, especially in the brick-and-mortar sporting goods retail business. In 2017, for example, Gander Mountain filed for bankruptcy and closed most of their stores. Dick’s is counting on its 1) updated website, 2) store-in-a-store concept, 3) talented sales people, 4) in-store demonstrations, and 5) a wide range of products at different price points. However, brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling so Dick’s faces a precarious future and needs a clear strategic plan.

In May 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods hired three lobbyists to push Congress for gun control measures, irritating many of its gun enthusiasts’ customers. Specifically, Dick’s hired two Democrats and one Republican from the Washington-based public affairs firm Glover Park Group, with the only specific lobbying issue listed for their work is “lobbying related to gun control.”


In 1948, an 18-year-old named Richard “Dick” Stack was working for an army surplus store in Binghamton, New York, and was assigned to research and develop several tactics for adding fishing and camping product lines to the business. Upon presenting his research and suggestions, the owner rudely called Dick a “dumb kid,” rejecting his work and ideas.

Distraught, but convinced he was right about the fishing market in Binghamton, Dick consulted with his grandmother. She asked: “Dick, how much would it cost you to build the store yourself.” Dick responded, “It will cost me $300.” His grandmother then went to the cookie jar where she kept her life savings and gave Dick $300 and told him “Do it yourself.” Dick used that money to rent a storefront and purchase inventory for a new bait-and-tackle shop in Binghamton.

Dick was determined to succeed despite the first few years of mediocre sales. By the 1960s however, Dick had two stores and formally named the company Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick Stack served as CEO of his company until his retirement in 1984, passing the torch to his son Edward (Ed) who is currently the Chairman and CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods. However, when Ed took the reins from his father, there were still only two Dick’s stores in operation. Young and energetic and having worked his way up the chain since 1977, Ed quickly put the business on an expansion route, opening multiple stores in the early 1990s, and ultimately moving the headquarters to Pittsburgh in 1994.

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