The sporting goods landscape continues to evolve as consumers focus more on health and wellness activities, participation rates in team sports evolve, purchases migrate online, and retailers continue to rationalize and consolidate.

L.E.K.’s experience spans the sporting goods value chain and landscape, including team sports, outdoor recreation, fitness and more. We focus on advising clients on the market opportunity, the evolving customer and consumer purchase process, opportunities for innovation, channel strategy, and growth planning. We recommend actionable strategies that drive impactful results for our clients, allowing them to be more efficient and more profitable.

Key questions and challenges

Our experienced professionals have a deep understanding of key business challenges in today’s sporting goods marketplace, and we encourage our clients to consider these key questions:

  • How are customer needs and product trends evolving? What are the implications for how we grow our business?
  • Are there adjacent products and categories that represent growth opportunities for our brand or company?
  • How do we optimize our pricing and promotional strategies to maximize value and create win-win solutions for brands and retailers?
  • How do we optimize our channel strategy? How do we make our channel partners work harder for us?
  • How should we be addressing the digital trend? Is our ecommerce strategy working effectively for us? How can we utilize the rise of Amazon to our advantage?
  • How do we evolve our business model to be smarter, leaner and more profitable, without compromising growth?
  • Where do interesting M&A opportunities exist, and what real assets can we acquire?
  • Should we grow internationally and outside of our core markets, and if so, how?

Examples of our work

To learn more about how we help clients create value in the sporting goods sector, please refer to these insights and case examples:

  • A private equity firm with a holding in a large sporting goods category was considering the acquisition of a manufacturer in an adjacent space (accessories). L.E.K. was engaged to assess the branding synergies and subsequent opportunities of the combined entity. We evaluated the benefits and drawbacks of using the brands separately and within a corporate umbrella, assessing the retail trade’s views of each option and providing the client with an understanding of how key trade channels would react. We identified three major areas of incremental opportunity to increase market share by leveraging brand synergies, and the client went on to successfully acquire the target.
  • A global outdoor recreation and sporting goods company needed product portfolio development guidance to build on recent growth. L.E.K. was able to identify a number of new product concepts through extensive primary and secondary research, in addition to internal and collaborative brainstorming. After sizing the market potential for each of these concepts and evaluating their ability to complement the client’s existing product line, we recommended the right new products to pursue. The client incorporated these opportunities directly into its product development pipeline.
  • A private equity firm was looking to make an investment in a fitness equipment company. L.E.K. was engaged to assess the market dynamics and category trends, evaluate the target’s channel relationships and implications for growth, understand the competitive landscape and degree of differentiation, and identify upside opportunities for growth across channels and product categories. The target was successfully acquired by the client.
  • A national big-box sporting goods retailer was looking to transform its small ecommerce business into a growth platform for the organization. L.E.K. determined the most strategically and economically attractive options for front-end and back-end platforms by clearly defining the go-forward digital vision and related technical requirements. The end result was an operating model expected to drive an 800-basis-point improvement in operating margins with better service levels to our client’s customers.
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