Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Outdoor specialty retailer, Alabama Outdoors, is closing its 5,000 square-foot store in Tuscaloosa, AL. The building lease ends July 31st and the owners plan to liquidate the inventory before then. With over 15 years of service in the area, President Scott McCrory told a local newspaper that he planned to explore options for another location in the city, but for now it was best to take advantage of the ending lease. Alabama Outdoors has stores in eight other Alabama cities: Homewood, Trussville, Inverness, Montgomery, Huntsville, Florence and Mobile.
Lexington, Mass. – Sperry Top-Sider, the maker of nautical-inspired footwear that was acquired by Wolverine last year, is bringing its performance footwear line to 49 different Dick's Sporting Goods stores nationwide. Also available at Dick's is the Sperry Shock Light shoe, which is designed to reduce the impact of boat vibrations while aboard a water vessel.
Sperry's distribution also includes independent, marine, outdoor and department stores. Since early 2010, the brand has launched 26 flagship retail locations in the U.S as well.
Seattle, Wash. – REI, the outdoor specialty chain and cooperative, is expanding its reach to Flagstaff, Ariz. and Columbus, Ohio beginning Spring 2014. The company will hire approximately 50 new employees for each new store. There are more than 4,200 REI members in the Flagstaff area and more than 5,100 in Columbus.
The 23,550 square-foot Flagstaff store is part of the latest phase of development at a shopping center near downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University. REI also has stores in Tempe, Paradise Valley and Tucson that opened in 1986, 1996, and 2010 respectively. The 23,400 square-foot Columbus store will open in Easton Gateway; REI opened its first Ohio store in Cincinnati last October.
Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released the results of a survey on organized retail crime (ORC) for retailers, law enforcement and public policy makers. Conducted throughout May, the report surveyed 77 retail loss prevention executives from department/big-box stores, discount, drug, grocery, restaurant and specialty retailers.
REI has finally decided to adjust its return policy, which has achieved notoriety among gear hungry consumers who often refer to the retail chain as “Return Everything Inc.” and “Rental Equipment Inc.”. Until now, the policy allowed REI members and customers to return any piece of gear purchased in-store or online at any time—now or thirty years down the road—for a full refund, no-questions-asked.
Kings Beach, Calif. – Boreas Gear, maker of outdoor travel and lifestyle packs, has partnered with local specialty retailer, Tahoe Mountain Sports, to get feedback on its latest travel backpacks. The brand has charged Tahoe Mountain Sports with finding three adventurers who will function as gear testers and submit reviews (500 – 1,000 words) and at least three pictures of themselves using the Boreas Pack by August 6.
On 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue in Manhattan are the first protected bike lanes in the United States. According to a study by the New York Department of Transportation, the dedicated bike lanes have decreased injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists and other “street users” on both streets. But beyond the public safety enhancements added to the city’s transportation infrastructure, the lanes have also increased retail sales for local businesses to the tune of 49 percent.
South Shields, England - Starting this Autumn, cyclists in the UK will be able to purchase rainwear and outdoor gear from Showers Pass in their local specialty retailers. The Oregon-based company opened a UK headquarters in South Shields, a coastal town in Northern England.
Company CEO, Kyle Ranson, said that Showers Pass had seen increasing interest from European cyclists over the past several years, and a growing number of online sales were from that area. Ranson has relocated to South Shields, and his brother, Fraser Ranson, will become Showers Pass UK's managing director.
The UK line of products will include jackets, pants and Crosspoint gloves.