Lauren Hobart, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, on female leadership and more – Footwear News

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Lauren Hobart is at the head of a ship that is moving in the right direction.

Last November, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. announced its long-term succession plan for Ed Stack, who assumed the role of Executive Chairman while remaining Chief Merchant, effective February 1. Hobart, president of the company at the time, was unanimously elected CEO by its board of directors, while retaining her title of president.

Since then, the sporting goods retail giant has launched several initiatives to expand its physical footprint, attract more buyers and inspire consumers, while reaping the benefits of the sports and outdoor shopping boom. In the second quarter, Dick’s posted record sales and profits, with a 45% increase in revenue compared to the same period in 2019.

As other companies abandoned their physical expansion, Dick’s launched several new successful concepts, including the experiential House of Sport featuring a turf field, running track, climbing wall, batting cage, a putting green and more. He also made a bigger game for the low-cost channel with the new Going, Going, Gone! stores.

More recently, Dick’s Sporting Goods opened the first location of its new outdoor banner, called Public Lands. The store, which is located in Cranberry Township, Pa., Spans 50,000 square feet and features a large footwear section featuring footwear for hiking, running, the outdoor lifestyle and more. .

At the same time, under the leadership of Hobart, the company worked to forge closer ties with female consumers. During Women’s History Month in March, he revealed the “Inside Moves” campaign which highlighted women in business leadership and gave credibility to his message on opportunities for women in the workplace. the sport.

And last week, Dick’s announced it had entered into a multi-year agreement with the WNBA to become the league’s official sporting goods partner – and its largest national merchandise retailer.

At the Public Lands launch on Friday, Hobart told FN why this new concept of outdoor retail can be successful, and how she is evolving as a leading woman in a male-dominated industry.

What does public land mean for Dick’s sporting goods portfolio?

Lauren Hobart: “Public Lands allows us to target a different consumer than the main consumer of Dick’s sporting goods. The explorer who will be the client of public lands seeks a life outside and we want to meet each of his needs, whatever his level. Whether they are beginners or true climbing enthusiasts, we want to be able to provide them with the best equipment. We also have an amazing mission with Public Lands to celebrate and protect our public lands for all, and “for all” is very important as we try to open the outdoors for everyone. “

What gives you the assurance that public lands will be a success?

LH: “I know it’s going to be a success for Dick’s Sporting Goods because it’s so good for where the consumer is right now with people who want to go out and live their best life on the outside. We have a very welcoming and approachable way of engaging with people who want to be outdoors, so that they can find the perfect gear for them, whatever their skill level. It will be an exciting experience when you get to the public lands: there is a climbing wall, there will be cooking demonstrations, there will be a lot of education.

What is the level of enthusiasm for public lands internally?

LH: “We are so excited for so many reasons. We have the opportunity to reinvent the outdoor category and the way people shop today. The folks at Dick’s still live with a passion, a vision and a purpose, and we have focused on youth sports and golf, but it allows us to bring the same passion to bring people outdoors into the outdoor category. It is quite natural in our Dick’s vision to launch this concept for our customers.


A peek inside the very first Public Lands store in Cranberry Township, PA.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Public Lands

You were promoted to CEO in February. How do you settle into your new role?

LH: “I love my job, I love my new role, I love this company. We did a good job with a very well planned succession. I have been working in pairs with Ed Stack for 10 years now, we have developed an incredible partnership and we have been working on this succession for four years. It’s incredibly smooth and fluid, and I’m just thrilled to be able to serve in this role.

What has been your experience since your role changed?

LH: “As CEO rather than President, I am always focused on our team. This is my primary objective. But I have to be a little more present in the market and defend the interests of the company and the team – and I love that part of the job. It makes me talk more, it makes me talk about Dick’s Sporting Goods with people who are interested in talking about it and it’s really rewarding.

What have been your most important – or proudest – moments since taking on the new title?

LH: “Overall I’m so proud of how this company weathered the pandemic and was able to not only respond and protect our business, but also grow during this incredibly difficult time. Since taking on this specific role, I am proud of what we have done on behalf of girls and women. We have launched many initiatives to ensure that girls and women have more access and representation in sport. Maybe the moment I was most proud of was when we put our entire female leadership team into a campaign and showed the world that there are some amazing women leading at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I think it surprised people. I have received a lot of comments from parents of daughters saying, “Thank you for showing my daughter that anyone can be at the top. We have been focusing on women and girls for a long time and have done an amazing job standing up for girls in sport and celebrating female athletes, but this year we have taken another step forward. it just peaked [last week] when we started a sponsorship with the WNBA, who have been amazing partners, but we have never been an official partner before. The love he generates has been incredibly rewarding.


Dick's Sporting Goods Women Senior Leaders

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Inside Moves campaign featuring the company’s women leaders.

CREDIT: DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc.

What are the priorities for Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2022?

LH: “We have so many initiatives going on in our business right now, and I think we’re in a very privileged position. 2022 will be devoted to the growth of our core business as well as to some of these new initiatives. With the Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy businesses, we have a lot of growth opportunities there, and we’re working on House of Sport, bringing great experiences to those stores and changing the way people shop and interact. We have a full omnichannel experience that gets better with curbside. We have just launched our Golf Galaxy Performance Centers, which are a more experiential, service-oriented model for golfers. And we have several new initiatives, including Public Lands and our Going Going Gone! customs clearance concept.

What does it mean to you to be one of the few female CEOs today?

LH: “I’m incredibly honored to be part of a small group of female CEOs – I think there are 41 female CEOs in the Fortune 500. Being part of this group is just incredibly humbling and exciting. I think there is also a responsibility in showing girls and women everywhere that anyone can do anything. I take this responsibility seriously. When you see people like you in jobs, you can imagine yourself in that job, it gives them confidence that they can make their dreams come true. And then being the CEO of a sporting goods company, it just makes me smile because maybe it’s a little more unexpected to see a woman at the top of this industry. But I’ll tell you, nothing has held me back. I’ve been grateful for every mentor I’ve had in my life, and I’ve been grateful for Ed Stack, the CEO here who saw potential in me, and I hope this shows everyone that ‘they can do whatever they want to do, that women and girls can be who they want to be.

Do you have a network of CEOs to draw on?

LH: “I have an incredible network. First of all, I have amazing teammates here at Dick’s who are just wonderful. I also have an amazing network of people – former bosses and mentors when I was at Pepsi and an amazing group of CEOs who kinda took me under their wing. When you become a new CEO, people contact you and that network begins. The former CEO of Xerox is a woman named Anne Mulcahy. She and I became friends a few years ago and she took me on as a mentor during my transition. She has given me so much wonderful advice and so much confidence just to be who I am as a leader. By the way, the CEOs who have lent their support are not just women. There were also a lot of male CEOs.

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