Snipes USA is betting big on brick and mortar. This week, the retailer announced the opening of a new store in Brooklyn, which is its second door on Flatbush Avenue. Snipes has 17 stores in New York City and more than 100 nationwide.
The retailer entered the US market in May 2019 with the acquisition of KicksUSA, and since then has made headlines for other major moves, including the acquisition of Mr. Alan’s in July 2019 and the introduction in the United States of its elevated Snipes 2.0 concept in July 2020.
Snipes’ footprint, according to President Jim Bojko, will only grow.
But its expansion comes at a time when much of the attention in sportswear retailing is on Foot Locker and JD Sports, which have bolstered their portfolios through a series of high profile acquisitions.
Below, Bojko explains how the moves of JD Sports and Foot Locker impacted Snipes USA’s business, reveals information about its expansion strategy, and talks about some of the challenges ahead.
With the digital boom, what makes expanding your physical footprint attractive?
Jim Bojko: “We saw digital boom last year, but our bricks and mortar sales kept pace. In fact, we’ve seen a lot of interest in our physical locations, and the traffic has been very high. Our mission is to advance street culture in the community, we have an inherently local perspective with everything we do. It requires a local presence in our communities so that we can participate, we can support, we can empower, we can celebrate, and we need to have a physical presence to be able to do that. From a more business perspective, our customer tends to prefer to try items in person. There is an element of instant gratification that plays a big part in the business we do. For example, often they plan to go out at night and don’t have time to wait to buy digitally and receive it in the mail. And some of our customers just prefer to pay in cash, which is why it’s important to buy locally. And finally, others find delivery services unreliable in our neighborhoods, so it’s a bit of a challenge where our client just wants to make sure they get their hands on it. All of this really lends itself and / or highlights why we continue to see a lot of opportunity in the physical space. “
Where will digital retail take place compared to physical commerce?
JB: “I think we’ve gained a few years of digital acceptance with the customer and comfort with digital shopping. For us in particular, I think it translates more into an omnichannel game where our customer is more comfortable with our digital channels and interacts with us in a digital world. We’ve invested in our app, we’ve invested in our website, so there’s a lot of investment to make sure the digital world reflects that same experience that we want to deliver in-store. This leads to more cross-channel purchases. You see the product online and you want to secure it right now, so you buy it online, but you also want that instant gratification and you don’t want to rely on a delivery service, so you pick it up in store later in the day. the day. I think we’ll see more, but I think we were going anyway. It was more of an acceleration to get there.
Which regions are most desirable for expansion?
JB: “For our culture, New York City is truly the # 1 market in the world, and we’ll continue to invest in it as best we can. It’s a very competitive market, so we have to be very thoughtful about where we’re going. Flatbush, for example, is a market where the customer we serve is very well represented, but there aren’t many other retail businesses available to them. With our model of participating in the community and delivering a product that is not otherwise available, this is the kind of market we are looking for right now and we certainly see a lot of opportunity. Chicago is a very interesting market, and along the I-95 corridor there are certainly some interesting markets. But we have to work closely with our partner brands. Not only our ownership, we not only need to look at our cash flow situation and if we can afford it, but it also needs to be aligned with what our brand partners are looking to do. But certainly, we see a lot of potential even in the markets that were already there. “
What are your expansion plans for the rest of 2021 and 2022?
JB: “For 2021, there will be a bit more infill in areas like Flatbush. There will be a few more doors this year and next year. We are optimistic to continue to grow, but with the supply chain issues right now, we want to be sure that we can deliver the product and experience that our customers are used to, and if we can’t get the good product, it does not make sense to open new doors. This is something that we are currently working on with our brand partners. You only make a first impression once, so rather than walking in with half-empty shelves, we’d rather wait a little longer to get into those markets and get it done the right way.
What is the impact of supply chain issues and port congestion on the Snipes business?
JB: “They have a huge impact on businesses. At the moment, it certainly looks like there will be more delays. Before the pandemic, sneaker releases would be well coordinated between brands and retail partners. Now it’s a bit more dispersed, and there’s confusion on the side of our clients that we’re looking to deal with. For next year, we think there will be more delays and also more cancellations. This means that we have to make sure to adjust our product line accordingly and continue to invest in the available categories and try to get as many categories that will be scarce as possible. “
Sportswear retail giants Foot Locker and JD Sports recently made acquisitions. How will this affect Snipes?
JB: “We’re an inherently local or regional space, so on the customer side I’m not sure that will impact what we do. The reality, however, is that our brands are looking to work with fewer and fewer partners – the “less, bigger, better” mantra that has been launched. As our competition intensifies, it certainly puts pressure on us to continue to grow as well and to continue to be a relevant partner for our brands. “
Snipes is no stranger to acquisitions. Would the company consider recruiting other retailers?
JB: “We have had great success with our acquisitions to date. We have a lot of support from our property to continue to grow, so we are always open to organic and inorganic growth. It is part of our toolbox.
What are your predictions for the holiday shopping season?
JB: “It’s going to be tight. I think product scarcity is going to be the name of the game. We think we’ll end up in a better product position than last year, but it will be a challenge and way below what we were and what the customer is used to in all areas. We’re doing our best right now to expedite orders and make sure we’re equipped to deal with the supply chain issues we’re already seeing. We believe it will only get worse. It will be OK, but it will be tight.