retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting day for the sporting goods business…

  • announced that it has launched its new Sporting Goods store, which has Amazon teaming with leading sporting goods merchants to offer more than 3,000 popular brands covering more than 50 sports, "from archery to basketball to paintball to skateboarding, and everything in-between."

    "'s goal is to offer customers breadth and depth of selection across dozens of sports, as well as the easiest way for everyone from weekend warriors to sports enthusiasts to find, discover, and buy sporting goods at great prices," said Stu Haas, senior category manager, Sporting Goods.

  • Toys R Us announced that it has created a new online sporting goods e-commerce site,, designed to carry more than 30,000 items "ranging from authentic sporting goods to apparel, games, footwear, fitness equipment, collectibles, and many other categories."

    In order to more efficiently reach consumers, SportsRUs has an alliance with, which allows it to sell products through the Amazon portal.

  • And, CNN reported that while companies like Staples have dominated the office supply market, and retailers like Home Depot have become synonymous with the D-I-Y market, nobody to this point has created a national; retailing face for the $75 billion sporting goods business.

KC's View:
Talk about convergence.

Here's the thing about these stories…

First of all, if the CNN story is correct, then it makes sense for Amazon and Toys R Us to make a big entrance into the sporting foods business.

That said, what exactly in Toys R Us's history would suggest that it would be good at sporting goods? Its stores are a mess, and it fouled up its web business so badly a couple of Christmases ago that it had to turn its online fulfillment operations over to Amazon.

Amazon, on the other hand, has done an excellent job expanding its boundaries.

It seems to us that this is a perfect example of how expansion can sometimes makes sense, and sometimes make little sense. It all has to do with being able to take care of the core…first. Amazon has credibility. Toys R Us has none.

That's a pretty good lesson for any retailer.