Skip to main content Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods chart new paths in 2021

Dick’s House of Sport, at Eastview Mall

Athletic apparel retailers Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods are flipping to a new page of their playbooks.

That’s according to the latest report by foot traffic analytics firm, “Placer Bytes — Taking Advantage of the Moment.” The report finds that, as of March 2021, foot traffic has largely recovered and is overtaking 2019’s levels (owing to the pandemic’s effect on 2020 data, comparing 2019’s numbers may provide a more accurate accounting, the firm noted).

Also, both companies, having survived and even thrived in some ways during the pandemic, are looking at new ways to further increase engagement and visit counts, according to the report.  For Nike, that means going for a more “direct” model. For Dick’s, it means using some of the space in its large stores to get experimental.

The report noted that Nike is cutting wholesale partnerships and opting to sell more directly to consumers. Nike has ended partnership with Macy’s, Urban Outfitters and DSW, and in the long term, that could drive more shoppers to Nike stores and direct revenue to the brand, according to

“The push further deepens the importance of the brand’s offline expansion plan but also hints to a wider wave of similarly-oriented companies looking to own the brand experience more fully,” said Ethan Chernofsky, VP marketing, 

For its part, Dick’s is trying out some new things in its stores, including “more immersive and exciting experiences.” (The retailer recently opened experiential in-store soccer shops in 34 locations.)  Given that Dick’s has been doing well with its selection of athleisure and at-home fitness products in the wake of the pandemic, the gambits could drive even more foot traffic into stores, Chernofsky said.

“Dick’s push into experiential is equally interesting as it speaks to a brand that recognizes the privileged position and rising role surrounding sport, at-home fitness, and athleisure — three subsets that the brand is well-catered to,” said Chernofsky. “The push to create more immersive and exciting experiences offers a vision of a brand that is looking to retain its role as one of the primary retailers within the space — especially as more athletic wear brands turn to owned retail strategies.”

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