Golfsmith CEO Marty Hanaka said that after "several difficult years, the nation's largest specialty golf retailer is now starting to see the results of a major retooling effort," according to Barry Harrell of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Golfsmith has “reported jumps in revenue for three consecutive quarters." Hanaka said that the company over the last three years has "moved to remake itself, embracing online sales and making golf apparel a bigger part of its business.” Hanaka: “The No. 1 strategy is really for us to grow the Web aggressively and permeate the digital space. We've had in excess of 20 percent increases on our Web business the last three or four quarters. We've really gone after that in an important way. ... Second thing is, we’re opening stores again. So we're getting a really nice lift from our new stores. We’re at 78 (stores) as we speak.” When asked if Golfsmith has changed the way its retail stores are laid out, Hanaka said, "Absolutely. Our new store models are in the high 20 percent of soft goods -- footwear and apparel -- as a result of redesigning the store. We can’t forget we’re a club company, but to enhance our profits we’ve put (clothing) in the center of the store” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/16).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Sheets Energy Strips, the brand co-founded by Heat F LeBron James, is aiming to "capitalize on the success of the energy drink market," according to Elaine Walker of the MIAMI HERALD. Each sheet contains 50 milligrams of caffeine and comes "individually wrapped in a paper-thin pouch that can be placed in a wallet or packet." One sheet has "about the same amount of caffeine as a Diet Coke and less than a Red Bull." The products were "first introduced in late June at GNC stores around the country and are in the process of arriving at other national retailers including Walgreens, Walmart, Circle K and 7-Eleven." Purebrands CEO Warren Struhl, whose company produces Sheets, said, "The energy category is hot. We were looking at all kinds of ways to reinvent energy. We don't want to do anything that had been done before. We were looking for a better mousetrap." Walker noted the product launch is being supported by a $10M campaign "that takes advantage of the company's many celebrity partners." James and his business partner Maverick Carter are involved in the management team, and "other celebrities are minority partners ranging from recording artist Pitbull to tennis player Serena Williams." Other celebs who are part owners include Ravens RB Ray Rice, Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire and rapper Drake. James and many of the other minority owners are "using their social media following on Facebook and Twitter to help publicize the brand" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/14).
ESPN.com's David Ubben reported one of the most popular T-shirts currently on the Texas A&M campus in one "bearing the unofficial slogan of the Texas A&M fan base: 'SECede.'" A&M fans "have snapped up all" of the supply at Aggieland Outfitters, an apparel store near the College Station campus, and a third order of the shirts "was expected to come in sometime Tuesday." Zach Salesman, who works in the Aggieland Outfitter corporate office, said, "We sold so many that we can't actually keep up with the numbers. We're printing them as fast as we can. Basically we have people going to the printers nonstop to pick up shirts" (ESPN.com, 8/15).
WHAT ABOUT US? On Staten Island, Diane Lore reported Nike has come out with a new "collection of its 'air' athletic shoes" called "NYC Boro." The white leather shoes "feature embroidered outlines of the 'borough' they represent on the left heel and the name of the borough on the right." Each different shoe "had a different-color tongue label and laces." There are versions for Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem, but there is not one for Staten Island. That led Staten Island Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis to "boycott Nike" during Saturday's Richard Willis Memorial Basketball Tournament (STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE, 8/13).
BULLDOG BLITZ: In Fresno, Bryant-Jon Anteola reported Fresno State Univ. Friday debuted its new Nike Pro Combat Elite football jerseys, which feature a "mostly red look with blue stripes on the side at home, and mostly white with red stripes for the road." There also is a new "remodeled red helmet that sports a thick, blue strip down the middle." This marks Fresno State's "first major overhaul of the football uniform in 14 years" (FRESNO BEE, 8/13).