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Sports Authority Goes Elite

The Sports Authority is bowing a new retail concept.

The sporting goods retailer said last week it plans to debut over 100 “S.A. Elite” stores in the next five to 10 years. The first location is set to open in August in Denver. The smaller format spaces will be approximately 12,000 to 15,000 square feet and will house a variety of first-time brands (that could not yet be named), in addition to new product assortment and categories from brands that the retailer already sells, such as Nike, Adidas, Asics and New Balance.

“It will give our current customers a broader offering and customers who may not have found what they are looking for will find this new experience different,” said Sports Authority EVP, CMO and CSO Jeff Schumacher. “We’ve done a lot of research, so we’re confident this should do well.”

Sam Poser, an analyst with Sterne Agee, said the concept gives Sports Authority an opportunity to showcase a more premium mix and increase service training. “To make this really different and compelling [will depend on] how they partner with their vendors,” he said. “I think it’s a signal of them getting more focused on service.”

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