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Jun 25, 2021
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Hibbett cuts “Sports” from corporate name in line with greater fashion focus

Published
Jun 25, 2021

Birmingham, Alabama-based retailer Hibbett Sports, Inc. announced on Thursday that it has changed its corporate name to “Hibbett, Inc.,” effective immediately, in order to better reflect the company’s shift towards athletic-inspired fashion.


Hibbett has been transitioning to a more fashion-focused business for several years now - Instagram: @hibbettsports


“Over the past several years, we have transitioned our corporate strategy to emphasize the athletic-inspired fashion merchandise that our customers covet,” explained the company’s president and CEO, Mike Longo, in a release. “Our new corporate name of Hibbett, Inc. better reflects our consumer centric Toe-to-Head focus that leads with in-demand footwear and provides cross-category connectivity to our apparel and accessory offerings.”
 
According to the retailer, despite the change in name, it will continue to offer products for team sports in a number of its stores, as well as through its omni-channel platform, although its focus will now be on athletic-inspired fashion footwear, apparel, and accessories.

As revealed by Longo in Hibbett’s Invester Day presentation on Thursday, the company has been implementing its transition away from sporting goods toward a more fashion-focused assortment for several years now.
 
“This move allowed the company to enhance a selection of premium brands, for example, Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Puma, Levi, Grindhouse, and others; which meant that we moved into a space that allowed us to begin offering a hard-to-access compelling assortment of hard-to-get product,” said the CEO.
 
During the Investor Day presentation, the company also revealed that its current target audience is Gen Z, particularly consumers aged between 16 and 20, a demographic on which the retailer over-indexes in both apparel and footwear purchases.
 
Hibbett’s SVP for marketing and digital, Bill Quinn, highlighted that targeting this audience allows the retailer to develop a connection with consumers at an early age. The executive further pointed out that success with Gen Z can lead to wider popularity, as both younger Gen-Alpha consumers and millennials look to for fashion guidance.
 
Hibbett also provided insight into its merchandising and marketing strategies, revealing that they are structured around five consumer personas: Streetwear Hound, Fashion Titan, Basketball Obsessed, Sports-Style Fanatic and Alpha Jock.
 
Each of these customer types has their own particularities, with Streetwear Hounds, for example, valuing scarcity in the products they purchase and having a tight link to sneaker culture. Fashion Titans, on the other hand, are trend-focused and social media savvy, while the Basketball Obsessed follow their favorite basketball teams both on and off the court.
 
Finally, Sports-Style Fanatics look to express their personal aesthetic through athleticwear ensembles that are inspired by the sports lifestyle and prioritize performance, while Alpha Jocks are trend-setting leaders.
 
Hibbett’s different store types seek to cater to distinct mixes of these personas. It’s more fashion-focused locations aim to attract Fashion Titans, the Basketball Obsessed and Sports-Style Fanatics. Stores with a heavier emphasis on athletic gear are intended to service the Basketball Obsessed, the Sports-Style Fanatic and the Alpha Jock.
 
The company’s City Gear banner, which is arguably its most fashion-forward store proposal, focuses on the Streetwear Hound, the Fashion Titan and the Basketball Obsessed.
 
“All of these personas are innovative, early adopters, or the early majority when it comes to fashion,” explained Quinn. “We use these personas to drive our merchandising and marketing activities around what we buy and communicate.”
 
Alongside these strategic discussions, Hibbett updated its long-term outlook in the presentation. The company now expects its annual sales to total $2 billion by fiscal 2025, with growth driven by low single-digit comparable sales improvements in brick-and-mortar stores and low double-digit rises in e-commerce. The retailer predicts that e-commerce penetration will increase to the high-teens by fiscal 2025.
 
In fiscal 2020, Hibbett’s full-year sales increased 19.9% to $1.42 billion, up from $1.18 billion in the previous year, while comparable annual net income totaled $74.3 million, or $4.36 per diluted share.

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