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Modell’s Turns Up the Heat

BY Marianne Wilson

From its modest roots in lower Manhattan, Modell’s Sporting Goods has evolved into the nation’s oldest family-owned and operated sporting goods chain. The company was founded in 1889 by Morris Modell and today, 121 years later, the Modell family remains in control (Mitchell Modell is the chief executive). Staying true to its Northeast base, the regional chain has not only held its own, but thrived in the face of larger-format national competitors.

Currently, Modell’s is in the final phases of a chainwide remodeling program. In August, it unveiled its most ambitious store to date: its renovated, 20,000-sq.-ft. Times Square flagship. Complete with a 300-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art high definition LED video screen and other multimedia interactive elements and unique offerings, the store is designed to connect with both local and global sports fans. Among the extras: a cap embroidery station where customers can have their caps outfitted with customized embroideries.

Chain Store Age editor Marianne Wilson spoke with Modell’s president, Seth Horowitz, who joined the company in 2008 as executive VP, merchandising, marketing and allocations and was named president one year later, about the chain’s remodeling efforts.

What was the impetus for the store revamp, and what are some of its key elements? 

The main impetus was a lack of consistency, which even extended to who our customers were. We did a lot of research and that eventually evolved into a strategic plan for the remodeling of our chain.

How many stores have been upgraded? 

More than 90% of the chain [has] been remodeled—134 of 146 stores. The program will be completed by the first quarter of next year.

What are some of the key elements of the program? 

A less cluttered overall appearance, with wider aisles and better sight lines. We created branded in-store shops for our top vendors, such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, and a dedicated Fanzone area to house all licensed product for men, women and children. We also created sport shops built around five team sports: baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse and training. The shops are designed to outfit the athlete from head to toe.

But the major change associated with the remodeling is that our stores are now more sporting-goods focused. Previously, they appeared to be more apparel focused.

What was the thinking behind the Times Square renovation? 

When we started the remodel project, we knew we needed to do something unique in Times Square. Being close to a store with a Ferris wheel (Toys “R” Us) gave us reason enough to do something different. But we wanted the flagship to be the best and most exciting sporting goods store in the country.

What makes it so unique? 

It has a number of features that are exclusive to it, from a lot of exciting multimedia elements to a footwear wall that includes such elite, high-end product as APL (Athletic Propulsion Club). The brand is an online [phenomenon], and Modell’s Times Square is the only retail location that sells it.

The store also features a New York Yankees ticket booth, It’s the only place you can buy same-day Yankee game tickets at a discount.

How’s that working out? 

It has been a tremendous traffic driver—good for us and the Yankees.

What do you like best about the store? 

I love the aesthetics, which are beautiful, and the energy, which is incredible. It is really the energy level that, more than any other element, makes it the kind of place that customers enjoy visiting again and again.

Other exciting elements are the branded shops, which offer great and unique shopping experiences, and our expanded national Fanzone, which carries the jerseys of the national players from all the major sports leagues.

What are Modell’s plans for expansion? 

In September, we opened two additional locations in Manhattan, giving us 16 stores there.

We’re confident that with the remodel program, we have a new model that meets our financial objectives and allows us to continue to grow the chain.

Do you see Modell’s going national, or expanding beyond the Northeast? 

There are still lots of opportunities in our backyard, and that’s what we are focusing on. We’re also working to integrate our shopping channels to make it a more seamless experience for the customer.

Have you noticed a big trend in customers trading down since the recession hit? 

No. Actually, it’s been just the opposite. Our customers sought out the brands they knew and trusted—brands they knew would deliver great value.

What do you see as Modell’s biggest challenge going forward? 

The biggest challenge Modell’s and all retailers face is to evolve as quickly as customer needs.

The need for retail to change as quickly as the customer is changing is not only a challenge, but also a big opportunity for those who get it right.

What’s it like working for a family-owned company whose roots go back four generations in New York? 

Great. I ran a public company (Everlast Worldwide, a boxing company), and this has a different feel.

It’s more locally relevant, more intimate. There is real passion for what we do here that comes from over 100 years of serving the community.

Who do you like for the World Series? 

I’m rooting for a Yankees-Phillies matchup.

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Nov-13-2012 08:35 am

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S.Cumpston says:
Nov-13-2012 08:35 am

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Kmart launches Smart Sense

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Kmart announced the expansion of its brand portfolio with the introduction of the Smart Sense line, its new Kmart brand that includes a wide range of items including everything from snacks and beverages, to oral care, paper products, household cleaners and over-the-counter medications. The quality of the Smart Sense line is comparable to that of national name brands, and on average costs 20% less, according to the company.

"With the introduction of the Smart Sense line, Kmart is looking to offer a more affordable Kmart brand product assortment that will rival the quality of more nationally recognized brands," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. "While the Smart Sense line will offer the everyday essentials, Kmart is also taking it a step further by providing unique products that you wouldn’t typically expect to see under a store brand."

The Smart Sense line currently consists of hundreds of products available in Kmart stores and the product line will expand to more than 1,200 items by early 2011, the company reported. Kmart said it will also support the Smart Sense line launch through multiple communications channels, including advertising, coupon offers, merchandising displays, sampling, digital marketing and event marketing.

In addition to the introduction of the Smart Sense line, a new look has been created for many other Kmart brand products, the company reported. The brighter and more vibrant packaging has been designed to capture the "colorful thinking" Kmart is demonstrating through its new product and brand announcements. In addition to the Smart Sense line roll-out, Kmart is also introducing products in a re-launch of its other exclusive brands, which include, Little Ones baby care products, Champion Breed pet care products, Image Essentials personal care products and VitaSmart vitamin products.

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Target to open ten stores on 10/10/10

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will open 10 stores across the country, resulting in the creation of more than 2,400 jobs.

The stores will open in the following communities:

 

    * Sacramento East: 6507 4th Ave., Sacramento, Calif.     * Simi Valley West: 51 Tierra Rejada Rd., Simi Valley, Calif.     * Bakersfield Central: 2901 Ming Ave., Bakersfield, Calif.     * San Jose North: 95 Holger Way, San Jose, Calif.     * Azusa: 809 Azusa Ave., Azusa, Calif.     * Salt Lake City: 1110 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, Utah     * Little Rock University: 420 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark.     * Christiana: 800 Christiana Mall, Christiana, Del.     * Flushing: 4024 College Point Blvd., Flushing, N.Y.     * Braintree: 250 Granite St., Braintree, Mass.

 

“These new Target store openings will help support local economies and make life easier for our guests by creating new jobs, spurring development and providing the utmost in convenience and value,” said John Griffith, EVP property development for Target. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with guests in communities across the country.”

As part of the grand opening celebrations, Target said each store will contribute to its community by initiating a local grant program, contributing to the United Way, donating food to Feeding America and product to the local Goodwill chapter and encouraging team members to volunteer their time to serve their community.

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