Strategy Students Study Sports Retailing

Hibbett GroupHibbett Sports CEO Jeffry Rosenthal and director of internal controls Rolanda Waddell kicked off the visits from the “C-Suites” of large organizations with the combined undergraduate capstone and MBA class, “Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite,” on September 25, 2012.

Mr. Rosenthal described his company’s strategy of locating in shopping areas close to large magnet stores like Walmart Super Centers where customers are sure to see the Hibbett Sports store signs as they walk to and from their cars.  Ms. Waddell noted that Hibbett Sports stores usually can compete when a “big box” sports retailer moves in close by, even when they share a parking lot (as is the case with the company’s store in Brook Highland Shopping Center in Birmingham, she noted).

Rosenthal said that Hibbett Sports has three core strategic values: (1) convenience, (2) brands, and (3) service. He noted that often times, a “soccer mom” needs to make a quick trip to a Hibbett Sports store to pick up the bat or glove needed for a child, and does not have time to make what might be a long trip to a larger retailer.

As another example of meeting the customers’ needs, he noted that Hibbett Stores will often open up late at night immediately after a big football game to sell the apparel of the winning team.

A group of students who had researched Hibbett’s strategy made a presentation to Mr. Rosenthal and Ms. Waddell. The students encouraged Mr. Rosenthal to consider an expanded internet strategy and to continue moving westward in the Sunbelt states.

Hibbett Sports is a publicly-traded company, headquartered in Birmingham, that operates sporting goods stores in small to mid-sized markets primarily in the southeast, southwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions of the United States.

“Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite” is taught by School of Business professor Stephen Yoder and by UAB Vice Provost Harlan Sands, and features visits from members of the executive suites of public or other large complex organizations who discuss their organizations’ strategies and how they are developed and implemented.

Pictured left to right: Paul Smith, Dean Sorrell, Joey Spellerberg, Ms. Waddell, Mr. Rosenthal, Ronnie Redd, Lindsey Gipson, Samantha Serley