Hibbett Sports CEO Jeffry Rosenthal and Chief Merchant Jared Briskin met with students in the combined undergraduate capstone and MBA class, “Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite,” on October 27, 2015, to discuss their company’s strategy.
Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Briskin described several key technology-based initiatives that are underway at the company including further development of digital marketing through social media and other channels, and refinement of a point-of-sale computer system. The POS system would allow sales associates to “convert” a customer who might not find exactly what they need in a store, but would be happy if the sales associate went online in the store and arranged for a product to be sent directly to the customer’s home.
Mr. Rosenthal remarked, however, that making decisions as to which merchandise will sell well to consumers, which usually must be made months in advance, is also an art “often based on your gut.” Between them, Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Briskin have over fifty years of merchandising experience. Both arrived within months of each other at Hibbett Sports in 1998. The number of Hibbett Sports stores has grown from about 100 when they arrived to over 1,000 today. Mr. Rosenthal has been president and CEO since 2010, and Mr. Briskin was named to his position as Chief Merchant in September 2014.
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. The company recently opened a new distribution facility in Alabaster, Alabama.
A group of students who had researched Hibbett Sports’s strategy made a presentation to Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Briskin. The students encouraged Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Briskin to consider a second distribution center in the St. Louis, Missouri area, because of the company’s expansion to the north and west of Birmingham. Mr. Rosenthal said that the company already has an information technology facility in St. Louis, due at least in part to the desire to have its infrastructure be geographically dispersed.
“Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite” is taught by School of Business professor Stephen Yoder, 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: Anaiza Medina, Mr. Rosenthal, Tammy Williamson, Steven Cole, Mr. Briskin, Joey Jones, Olivia Rouss.