The outlook for sporting goods retailers is getting brighter as more and more Americans head outdoors. Academy Sports + Outdoors (ASO) CEO Ken Hicks, knows this all too well, with first-quarter sales up 39%. He tells Yahoo Finance that customers have turned to new hobbies amid the pandemic.
“We’ve seen people come in and pick up new hobbies and interests like fishing, camping, hiking, and so that has continued,” Hicks said. “People picked up a new hobby and they’re doing more of it," he said.
Outdoor items such as tents were big seller the past quarter. “We’re going through tents like crazy because people are going out camping this year as a way to stay safe, but also have some fun outdoors.”
Camping equipment is not the only item that has seen a surge in popularity and sales. Academy Sports + Outdoors has also experienced an 80% increase in apparel sales and a 58% increase in footwear year over year.
Despite the record quarter, Academy Sports + Outdoors, like many retailers, has experienced supply chain issues that have negatively impacted inventory levels. However, Hicks said that these issues had taught him an important lesson: How to run a successful business with less.
“One of the things that we learned is we can operate with less inventory. We’re working on a major supply chain initiative to improve it because we can turn inventory a lot faster. ... We know we can turn the inventory quicker and be more responsive to the customer by a faster supply chain, but also better allocation getting the right inventory in the right store, in the right quantity.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.