Canadian retailer Sporting Life Group is launching a new chain of big box stores that will cater to players of team sports of all ages and genders.
Team Town Sports will open its first three locations this spring in Alberta and Ontario, with plans to expand to 25 stores across the country, the company said Monday.
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Sporting Life Group said the store will carry gear for a wide range of team sports, including hockey, basketball, soccer and baseball.
“We’ve seen some sports retailers gradually step away from team sports and team activities,” Frederick Lecoq, chief marketing officer of Sporting Life Group, said in an interview.
“It was first driven by the swing during COVID when it was very much individual sports that were winning but now there’s a more purposeful lifestyle fashion positioning,” he said. “We saw a gap in the market and an opportunity to carry goods for all team sports under one roof.”
Rather than expand the Sporting Life brand, Lecoq said the company decided to launch a store dedicated to team sports.
“We don’t believe in the Swiss Army knife of retail. It’s convenient, but it’s not really a screwdriver and it’s not really a knife,” he said. “You can’t really find what you’re looking for.”
Each store will feature a dedicated section that will cater to youth sports and plans to offer a wide product assortment for female athletes — an historically underserved customer base in the Canadian sports retailing market.
“When a retailer is trying to be too many things, what we’ve seen happen is assortment rationalization,” Lecoq said, explaining why some stores don’t carry female protective gear for hockey or women’s cleats for soccer.
“Team Town Sports will have gear for all sports, ages and genders.”
The company has two locations opening in Calgary in May and a third opening in Mississauga, Ont., in July.
Sporting Life Group, which also operates Golf Town Ltd. and Sporting Life Inc. stores, is continuing to examine lease options to open additional stores and Lecoq said it might consider some locations set to be vacated by Nordstrom Inc. once it winds down its Canadian operations.
“Our concept is a big box store because it’s every team sport under one roof ,” he said. “We’d look at any real estate opportunity, though we’d prefer free-standing units.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2023.