OPERATIONS

Study: Academy Sports + Outdoors has highest customer satisfaction rate and higher repurchase intent

BY Marianne Wilson

Westlake Village, Calif. — Academy Sports + Outdoors, Katy, Texas, which operates 141 stores, ranks highest in customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Sporting Goods Retailer Satisfaction Report. The inaugural report measures the overall sporting goods retailer customer satisfaction experience by examining five key factors: staff, cost, facility, merchandise and sales/promotions.

Among the eight retail brands included in the report, Academy Sports + Outdoors had an overall score of 796 (on a 1,000-point scale) and performed particularly well in the cost, merchandise and sales/promotions factors. Following Academy Sports + Outdoors in the rankings are Hibbett Sports (794) and Play It Again Sports (790), all outperforming the industry average of 780. Modell’s Sporting Goods had an overall rating of 784, followed by Dick’s Sporting Goods (783), Sports Authority (778), Dunham’s Sports (762) and BIG 5 Sporting Goods (758).

According to the report, 51% of Academy Sports + Outdoors customers say they "definitely will" repurchase from the brand, which is significantly higher than industry average (42%). In addition, 51% of the retailer’s customers say they "definitely will" recommend the brand, which is significantly higher than the industry average and most of the brands included in the report.

Further illustrating the relationship between high customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy is the fact that Academy Sports + Outdoors customers make an average of 3.0 recommendations, nearly twice as many as less satisfied customers (1.6).

The report also finds that while cost is important, a helpful and knowledgeable sales staff is the key driver of customer satisfaction with a sporting goods brand. Among the five study factors, staff has the highest importance weight in determining overall satisfaction (30%), followed by cost (23.5%) and facility (18%).

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OPERATIONS

New York City Pension Funds urges shareholders to vote against Wal-Mart directors

BY Staff Writer

New York — New York City Pension Funds is urging shareholders to vote against the re-election of Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke and four other board members out of concerns about the chain’s bribery investigation in Mexico, the Associated Press reported.

The pension group owns 5.6 million shares of Wal-Mart, which has more than 3.4 billion shares outstanding.

In a letter to shareholders on Wednesday, the fund says shareholders should vote against Duke, H. Lee Scott Jr., Arne M. Sorenson, S. Robson Walton and Christopher J. Williams during the company’s annual meeting on June 1, according to the report.

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FINANCE

Body Central profit rises in Q1, on track to open 35 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Jacksonville, Fla. — Body Central Corp. reported Thursday that net income for the first quarter rose to $5.9 million, from $5.4 million in the same period last year. Sales increased 11.8% to $82.7 million, and same-store sales dipped 1.4%.

The retailer, which operates 243 stores, said it is on track to open at least 35 stores in 2012.

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