By Mario Toneguzzi
National sporting goods retailer Sport Chek has embarked on a plan to convert several of its stores to its Hero concept which is just a step down from being a flagship store.
“It’s scaled down a little bit from the digital element and square footage wouldn’t be as big as some of the flagships. Flagships tend to get to about 80,000 square feet. Hero you’re looking at kind of 50,000 to 65,000 square foot range,” he says.
There are 195 Sport Chek locations across the country in about two million square feet of space. The company has built six flagship stores in Canada with no plans right now to do any more.
“We do have plans . . . We are doing a few Hero locations. CF Market Mall being one (Calgary). Park Royal in B.C. being another. Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket we’ll be doing next year . . . Those are the ones on the books now. Always we look to renovate our fleet stores, our existing fleet stores, to kind of bring them up to standard across Canada,” says Maslanyk.
He says the company has 16 stores that are part of its flagship family of stores. Six of those stores are large format flagships, and 10 of those stores are slightly smaller in size.
Recently, Canadian Tire announced its second quarter results for the period ended July 1. Same store sales at Sport Chek were up 1.1 per cent.
In Calgary, the expansion of the existing CF Market Mall store is taking place where a two-level, 25,000-square-foot building is being added to the back of the current store. The location will include the following flagship design and digital elements: a portal entrance, which is unique to its large format flagship stores; TV cash walls; digital screens on ends of various walls; RFID in footwear wall; translucent feature footwear walls; Nike/Adidas/Under Armour vendor shops; digital fitting room tablets; and New Balance Stride ID Lab.
“It's a great addition to CF Market Mall because as a destination store it will be a significant traffic driver which will likely result in increased sales across the mall,” says Darren Milne, general manager of the shopping centre. “As part of the Sport Chek expansion, we've also needed to add more parking and we've done that by expanding the underground parkade. As a result of the Sport Chek expansion we’ll now have 725 covered/heated parking stalls for our shoppers to enjoy throughout the year, and especially as we move into winter.”
A similar renovation took place as well at the Sport Chek store in CrossIron Mills just outside Calgary city limits in Rocky View County.
“We are so thrilled that Sport Chek continually reinvests in their stores. They are a phenomenal retailer who strives to engage their customer in an experiential shopping environment. And this renovation demonstrates that commitment to their store at CrossIron Mills,” says James Moller, general manager of the shopping centre.
Maslanyk says the company is always looking for real estate opportunities but its primary focus is on its existing market and how it can continue to enhance those stores.
“There’s always opportunities or gaps in the marketplace where we can take advantage of getting some new real estate. We just opened a new store in Ottawa at the CF Rideau Centre,” he says. “We did the East Hills in Calgary which is going to be a growing market just outside of Calgary.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.