Asics and Brooks in “Dead Heat” at Fleet Feet

Brooks caught up to Asics at Fleet Feet in 2008, but New Balance, Saucony and Nike also gained market share at the chain. As reported, Fleet Feet’s sales grew 14% to $86 million in 2008 on a 12% comp gain.

“In this environment, I’ll take it,” said Fleet Feet, Inc. President Jeff Phillips of the results. According to Phillips, Asics and Brooks are now in a “virtual dead heat” and both hold a commanding share among footwear brands at Fleet Feet. Phillips was also encouraged that New Balance, Saucony and Nike all gained market share this year.

Nike’s share climbed back into the double-digits, according to Phillips. “It’s good for everyone if Nike’s doing well and we have a handful of stores where Nike is the number one or two brand. That wasn’t the case two or three years ago,” said Phillips. “Their product is getting better and they’ve also improved on what we call ‘ease of doing business.’”

Besides good product, New Balance was boosted by the launch of its “No Boundaries” program that encourages beginners to become active. Strong product innovation continues to bolster Saucony, said Phillips. Mizuno also “grew nicely,” but not as much as the others.

A primary focus for Fleet Feet this year will be customer acquisition, particularly finding those that don’t normally shop at running specialty shops. A huge success has been the aforementioned “No Boundaries” endeavor, a 12-week program that guides participants through their first 5K run or walk. An overwhelming 90% of franchisees participated in the program in 2008, and the franchise goal this year is to get 10,000 participants into the program across its 90 locations.

“Stores recognize the opportunity and it fits into our strategy of going after customers who aren’t active and aren’t runners because, quite frankly, that’s where we’re able to drive growth,” said Phillips. “We don’t see ourselves being able to extract more dollars from our existing customer base right now. We need new customers.”

Phillips also suspected that the program helped drive New Balance’s strength across stores last year as employees getting behind the program also got behind the brand.

Among other outreach programs, a pilot program sponsored by Saucony coming this spring focuses on youth and kids running. Also, an ongoing program with Mizuno reaches out to the medical community.

Besides customer acquisition, Fleet Feet’s other focus in 2009 will be stressing comprehensive financial management, including inventory controls and keeping accurate financial statements, in light of the downturn.

About The Author

Asics and Brooks in “Dead Heat” at Fleet Feet

Brooks caught up to Asics at Fleet Feet in 2008, but New Balance, Saucony and Nike also gained market share at the chain. As reported, Fleet Feet’s sales grew 14% to $86 million in 2008 on a 12% comp gain.

“In this environment, I’ll take it,” said Fleet Feet, Inc. President Jeff Phillips of the results. According to Phillips, Asics and Brooks are now in a “virtual dead heat” and both hold a commanding share among footwear brands at Fleet Feet. Phillips was also encouraged that New Balance, Saucony and Nike all gained market share this year.

Nike’s share climbed back into the double-digits, according to Phillips. “It’s good for everyone if Nike’s doing well and we have a handful of stores where Nike is the number one or two brand. That wasn’t the case two or three years ago,” said Phillips. “Their product is getting better and they’ve also improved on what we call ‘ease of doing business.’”

Besides good product, New Balance was boosted by the launch of its “No Boundaries” program that encourages beginners to become active. Strong product innovation continues to bolster Saucony, said Phillips. Mizuno also “grew nicely,” but not as much as the others.

A primary focus for Fleet Feet this year will be customer acquisition, particularly finding those that don’t normally shop at running specialty shops. A huge success has been the aforementioned “No Boundaries” endeavor, a 12-week program that guides participants through their first 5K run or walk. An overwhelming 90% of franchisees participated in the program in 2008, and the franchise goal this year is to get 10,000 participants into the program across its 90 locations.

“Stores recognize the opportunity and it fits into our strategy of going after customers who aren’t active and aren’t runners because, quite frankly, that’s where we’re able to drive growth,” said Phillips. “We don’t see ourselves being able to extract more dollars from our existing customer base right now. We need new customers.”

Phillips also suspected that the program helped drive New Balance’s strength across stores last year as employees getting behind the program also got behind the brand.

Among other outreach programs, a pilot program sponsored by Saucony coming this spring focuses on youth and kids running. Also, an ongoing program with Mizuno reaches out to the medical community.

Besides customer acquisition, Fleet Feet’s other focus in 2009 will be stressing comprehensive financial management, including inventory controls and keeping accurate financial statements, in light of the downturn.

About The Author

Asics and Brooks in “Dead Heat” at Fleet Feet…

Brooks finally caught up to Asics at Fleet Feet last year, but New Balance, Saucony and Nike also gained market share at the chain. As reported (see SEW_0903), Fleet Feet's sales grew 14% to $86 million in 2008 on a 12% comp gain.


“In this environment, I'll take it,” said president Jeff Phillips of the results.


Asics and Brooks, according to Phillips, are now in a “virtual dead heat” and both hold a commanding share among footwear brands at Fleet Feet. Phillips was also encouraged that New Balance, Saucony and Nike all gained market share this year.


Nike's share climbed back into the double-digits.


“It's good for everyone if Nike's doing well and we have a handful of stores where Nike is the number one or two brand. That wasn't the case two or three years ago,” said Phillips. “Their product is getting better and they've also improved on what we call 'ease of doing business.'”


Besides good product, New Balance was boosted by the launch of its No Boundaries program that encourages beginners to become active. Strong product innovation continues to bolster Saucony, said Phillips. Mizuno also “grew nicely” but not as much as the others.
In apparel, Nike continued to lead, although Brooks “came close on the volume side.” Also standing out in apparel were New Balance, Moving Comfort, Saucony and Mizuno.


A primary focus for Fleet Feet this year will be customer acquisition, particularly finding those that don’t shop run specialty. A huge success has been No Boundaries, a 12-week program that guides participants to walk or run a 5K for the first time.  An overwhelming 90% of franchisees participated in the program in 2008, and the franchise goal this year is to get 10,000 participants into the program across its 90 locations.
“Stores recognize the opportunity and it fits into our strategy of going after customers who aren't active and aren't runners because, quite frankly, that's where we're able to drive growth,” said Phillips. “We don’t see ourselves being able to extract more dollars from our existing customer base right now. We need new customers.”


Phillips also suspected that the program helped drive New Balance's strength across stores last year as employees getting behind the program also got behind the brand.


Among other outreach programs, a pilot program sponsored by Saucony coming this spring focuses on youth and kids running. Also, an ongoing program with Mizuno reaches out to the medical community.
Besides customer acquisition, Fleet Feet's other focus in 2009 will be stressing comprehensive financial management, including inventory controls and keeping accurate financial statements, in light of the downturn.


Fleet Feet added ten new franchises in 2008 and transitioned ownership in ten others. Phillips expects “very few” new doors in 2009 as start-ups slow in a down economy. But he does expect Specialty Retail Development Co. (SPDC), a separately-owned firm founded last year by Fleet Feet chairman Tom Raynor to acquire running stores, to be active. Six of the ten ownership transitions in 2008 were acquisitions by SRDC. It acquired its first independent, The Runner’s High in Menlo Park, CA, last September.


“They're trying to acquire a few more independents where you have owners looking to exit and convert to a Fleet Feet,” said Phillips. “There's lots of opportunity in that area now.”

About The Author

Archives

Categories

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This