Hibbett Sports plans 5th area store

Hibbett Sports plans to open in late February in Gateway Town
Hibbett Sports plans to open in late February in Gateway Town
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Hibbett Sports Inc. plans to open a second Jacksonville Hibbett Sports store in North Jacksonville in late February, its fifth in the area.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based chain of sporting goods stores will open in the Gateway Town Center along Norwood Avenue. It already has a store at 3000 Dunn Ave., near Lem Turner Road.

Its website, www.hibbett.com, shows three other stores in Yulee, St. Augustine and Palatka.

Chris Jones, Gateway Town Center director of operations, said Hibbett Sports signed a 10-year lease for 5,000 square feet of space next to the Supervisor of Elections office and the Payless store, facing Publix Super Markets.

He said the lease was executed at the end of November.

Jeff Gray, real estate vice president, said the stores employ six to eight people each and average 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of space. The stores are smaller than the big-box sporting goods stores.

Marketing Vice President Joy McCord said another North Florida store is planned to open March 17 in Pensacola.

The City approved a building

permit last week for Argos Builders LLC to renovate the space at a project cost of $60,715.

Hibbett Sports operates more than 800 stores in 26 states and considers itself a neighborhood store. Its website reports that the company’s merchandise “is carefully chosen to meet the sporting goods needs of the cities and towns where we locate.”

Hibbett Sports said it operates in small to mid-sized markets predominantly in the Southeast, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

As of Jan. 29, it operated Hibbett Sports stores as well as 16 smaller-format Sports Additions athletic shoe stores and three larger-format Sports & Co. superstores in 26 states.

It said about 76 percent of the store

base is in strip centers, including

freestanding stores, while 24 percent is within enclosed malls.

“We expect to continue our store base growth in strip centers versus enclosed malls,” said the website.

“Our stores offer a broad assortment of quality athletic equipment, footwear and apparel with a high level of customer service. Our merchandise assortment emphasizes team sports complemented by localized apparel and accessories designed to appeal to a wide range of customers within each individual market,” it said.

Hibbett Sports recently reported that net sales for the 39-week period ended Oct. 29 rose 10.2 percent to $542 million from $491.7 million for the comparable period ended Oct. 30, 2010. Comparable store sales increased 6.6 percent.

As of Oct. 29, the store base was 815 in 26 states. It expects to open 51-53 new stores this year, expand 16 more and close 16-18.

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