Foot Locker and Champs Sports Are Closing 525 Stores
The locations will begin shuttering by the end of the year as the brands "relaunch."
Whether you're hitting the court or just want a pair of trainers that look as good as they feel, Foot Locker and its sister store Champs Sports are go-to resources for anyone in the market for athletic shoes. The popular retailers can make it easy to find the perfect cleats, sneakers, training boots, or apparel that can keep you looking fashionable on the street or performing your best during your next match. But thanks to changes in how people shop, even mall mainstays are being forced to change how they win over customers and shrink their store footprint. And now, Foot Locker and Champs Sports have announced they'll be closing 525 stores in the coming years. Read on to find out more about where the company is making the changes—and where it plans to go next.
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Foot Locker says it's closing 525 locations, including some of its Champs Sports stores.
Devoted sneaker collectors saying they're "waiting for the other shoe to drop" are usually making a literal statement. But shoe fans may be in for some actual bad news: On March 20, Foot Locker announced it will be closing 400 stores by 2026, CNN reports. In addition, the company added that it would shut down 125 of its Champs Sports stores by the end of this year.
In its investor update shared with financial analysts, executives with the company says the move is coming as part of a brand "reset" and will most affect underperforming locations in malls. "These 400 stores represent nearly 10 percent of our total sales," said Tony Aversa, senior vice president of store development, per Axios.
News of the closures comes as the company also released its fourth-quarter sales figures for 2022, showing a 0.3 percent drop compared to the previous year. In addition, executives said they expected sales to drop from 3.5 to 5.5 percent this year.
Best Life reached out to Foot Locker for comment on the closures, but has yet to hear back.
The company will also be opening new concept stores as part of a "relaunch."
However, the company's backpedaling won't be permanent. Executives explained that the moves are part of its "Lace Up" revitalization strategy that will shift focus to serious shoe shoppers, athletes who rely on high performance, and overall savvy customers, CNN reports.
"We'll be scaling new concepts with bigger footprints to offer more engaging experiences with a broader product assortment," said Aversa. He added that even though Foot Locker will lose 10 percent of its store count following the announced closures, "we will increase our square footage by 10 percent to over 14.5 million square feet as we open up larger, more experiential expressions of our brands with a wider product assortment. New formats will surpass 400 locations."
According to Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon, the company remains confident that everyday casual dressing will remain popular as people continue to split working from home and the office. "We are not going back to less comfort in our lives. I can tell you that," she said, per CNN.
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Foot Locker is also deepening its ties with Nike.
While the company may be changing up the layout of many of its stores, it's also strengthening one very familiar aspect of its business model. Dillon said that Foot Locker would be "revitalizing" its relationship with iconic shoe brand Nike, saying the two had a "shared vision of the future marketplace, aligning on growth plans and key strategic areas like basketball, kids, and sneaker culture," per Axios.
As Foot Locker's largest existing shoe partner, shoppers can expect to see plenty more of the "swoosh" on the retailer's shelves. According to Chris Santaella, chief merchandising officer for Foot Locker, Nike will make up "55 percent to 60 percent of our mix."
Foot Locker isn't the only retailer to recently announce store closings.
Even as Foot Locker makes moves to improve its footing amid changes to the retail landscape, it's far from alone in announcing store closures as part of its strategy.
Target recently confirmed that it would be shuttering four underperforming locations across Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia on May 13. However, the company said it planned to open 20 new stores "in a variety of sizes" by the end of the year, according to a Feb. 28 press release outlining the retailer's investment strategies.
National pharmacy chain CVS also kept pace with its plan to shutter 300 locations through the end of next year with the closing of a store in Tallahassee, Florida last week. The company also confirmed that two more shops in Missouri and New York would be out of business by early April, and another in Virginia would close on April 18.
Clothing retailers also announced they would shrink their store footprint in the coming months. During an earnings call on March 9, Gap Inc. Chief Financial Officer Katrina O'Connell confirmed that the company plans to "close 50 to 55 Gap and Banana Republic stores" in 2023. And on March 16, The Children's Place CEO Jane Elfers confirmed that the kids' clothing company is anticipating the closure of approximately 100 locations, with most shuttering by the end of this year.