Champs Sports opens new home field concept – WWD

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Champs Sports is making a major statement with its brand new store.

On April 1, the sports retailer quietly opened the doors to Champs Sports Homefield, a 35,000 square foot store in Pembroke Pines, Florida, offering a wide range of experiences and expanded product categories.

The store is the largest of any in the Foot Locker Inc. family, its parent company, and will serve as a prototype for future Champs Sports units.

Champs primarily focuses on young athletes and Homefield offers a bunch of oversized experiences aimed at them, but this store should also appeal to older shoppers. Its official opening is set for April 22.

Champs Sports Homefield, in Pembroke Pines, Florida
Courtesy

The store has a basketball court, a digital VR experience that mimics a combine harvester, a smoothie bar, and a health and wellness department. There’s also a bigger assortment of apparel and sneakers for a wide range of sports, including running, weight training, and yoga, as well as gear. Major brands include Nike, Adidas, Under Armor and Jordan Brand as well as private labels Eastbay Performance, CSG and Cozi.

“It’s brand new to us and it’s the largest Foot Locker Inc. store on the planet,” said Guy Harkless, senior vice president and general manager of Champs Sports and Eastbay. “But we felt we needed it as a solution for the modern athlete.” Homefield is meant to serve the “full life course” of its customers, he added, and not just sell products.

The average Champs Sports store is 5,500 square feet, about the same size as the 5,000 square feet dedicated to true performance products in the center of Homefield. This includes cleats for a variety of sports as well as basketball and running shoes.

Although all of the more than 500 stores in Champs carry performance products, the store sells a number of new shoe brands, including Brooks, Hoka and Asics, he said, as well as 2XU workout apparel. and sunglasses and visors from Oakley to complement Nike, Under Armour. and New Balance assortment.

Homefield also has “a ton of new categories,” he said. “We don’t sell protein powders in normal Champs stores.”

The store’s half-court basketball court will allow visitors to shoot hoops and work on their ball-handling skills and will also be the location for yoga or HIIT classes, he said.

Champs Sports Homefield, in Pembroke Pines, Florida

Champs Sports Homefield, in Pembroke Pines, Florida
Courtesy

The smoothie bar will serve ReFuel Your Game with Smoothie 123, and the 2,500-square-foot health and wellness space offers nutritional and recovery foods and products such as GNC’s “muscle foods,” said Harkless, as well as Salvage Pistols from Hyperice and Salvage Sandals from Oofos.

But he’s perhaps most excited about the Combine Digital VR experience, an 8ft by 13ft double-sided digital screen that will measure height, jumping ability, agility, reaction time and more. metrics measured at traditional Combine events.

“It’s unique to this store,” Harkless said. Since Homefield opened, the response has been “fantastic” to this experience. “It’s a way to have a little fun, but also to compete with others,” he said, adding that a leaderboard where participants are ranked can also create a “shareable moment” on social media. social.

“We’ve always served the athlete – that’s the heart of the Champs business,” he said. “But we evolve as the customer has evolved, so we built this box to be more useful and give them everything they need to compete in life and on the playground.”

Champs Sports Homefield, in Pembroke Pines, Florida

Champs Sports Homefield, in Pembroke Pines, Florida
Courtesy

The Florida location was chosen for the area’s large number of high schools and its great year-round weather. And while the target may be school-aged children, the store should appeal to any active and athletic consumer, he said.

Since opening, he said the results were “better than expected.” Foot traffic has been robust, and consumers are responding to the basketball court, which has become “the epicenter of individuals and families.” Sales of cleat products also exceeded forecasts, he said.

The store is also embracing the community through its Wall of Game, which will induct six individuals who have made a positive contribution to local sports in the Pembroke Pines area.

Although the size of most Champs stores will prevent them from replicating the experiences offered at Homefield, Harkless said the company will take the “learnings” from the store and apply them to other members of the fleet.

While he said no more Homefield stores are planned at this time, he said it would be the first of “several – or many – that we will begin rolling out across the United States.” This will “influence our main stores” and also help the business. further develop its direct-to-consumer strategy. “The consumer is looking to be served in a new way,” he said.

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