Just two weeks after Hibbert Sports President and CEO Jeff Rosenthal announced he would retire after more than 21 years with the company, the retailer revealed it would lose its second C-level exec at the end of April. Scott Bowman, Senior VP and CFO, will step down on April 26.
Already looking for a replacement CEO, Hibbett Sports also will begin the search for Bowman’s successor.
The sporting goods retailer is in a transition phase operationally, announcing last month that it would close 95 Hibbett stores in fiscal 2019 and open 10 to 15 Hibbett and City Gear locations.Despite the net store closures, Hibbett reported a successful Q4 2018, with comparable sales up 3.8% and e-Commerce sales up 60%, accounting for 10.6% of the retailer’s total sales for the period.
Hibbett is a latecomer to e-Commerce, having only launched sales on its site in July 2017. But the company has done more to extend its customer base via its recent $113 million acquisition of City Gear in November 2018. Rosenthal indicated in a prior statement that Hibbett would rely on City Gear’s social media and marketing capabilities as well as its ability to connect with local communities through events such as sneaker releases.
“In the city specialty category, there’s a customer loyalty that City Gear has, and it’s well-deserved,” Rosenthal told SGB Media after the acquisition. “They’ve done a really good job from a customer outreach standpoint. You couple that with a great product assortment and a differentiated product assortment, and it’s been able to insulate them from some of the other pressures at brick-and-mortar retail that has allowed them to comp at a mid-single-digit level.”
The purchase added 136 City Gear stores to the company’s portfolio, which, along with two City Gear and 10 Hibbett openings, brought the retailer’s total footprint to 1,163 stores as of Feb. 2, 2019.