SPORTING GOODS GIANTS PREPARE FOR BATTLE IN WINDY CITY
"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).