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SPORTING GOODS GIANTS PREPARE FOR BATTLE IN WINDY CITY
Published November 22, 1994
"The gloves are coming off in the battle for sales of sporting goods in Chicago and its suburbs," according to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES -- with Sportmart and The Sports Authority positioned as the heavy-weight contenders. "For the last 23 years, Niles-based Sportmart, Inc., has been the dominant chain ... but the company, considering itself the pioneer of the sporting-goods superstore concept, faces perhaps its toughest test from The Sports Authority." Sportmart currently operates 17 stores in the Chicagoland area, and has plans for more -- not just in Chicago, but in Cleveland, Columbus, and Canada. The Sports Authority entered the market just over two years ago, has already opened eight stores, and plans to have 20-23 stores in Chicago. Jim Peters, Sportmart's Exec VP for Merchandising: "They are a Sportmart knock-off, there's no question about it." Arnold Sedel, Senior VP of Operations for The Sports Authority: "Sportmart has dominated the market. Now they're having to do things to combat us, just as we have done things to combat them." Sedel does admit, however, that "we really haven't come up against a powerhouse like Sportmart" (Mary Ellen Podmolik, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/21).