The Decline of Modell’s Sporting Goods. What Happened? 10 Marketing Tips

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The Decline of Modell’s Sporting Goods. What Happened? 10 Marketing Tips

In March of this year, the 131-year-old Modell’s Sporting Goods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, joining a growing list of sporting goods retailers that have gone bankrupt in recent years, such as Sports Authority, City Sports, and many others as discussed over at and While the coronavirus pandemic didn’t help, the company has been in trouble for a while now, and this article will look to take a look at what happened to it and the factors that played a part in its decline and filing for bankruptcy.

Growth of online retail

Brick-and-mortar stores have come under increased pressure from competition from online retailers in recent years, as discussed over at, and Modell’s has been no exception. This has been even more of an issue with the entrance of Amazon into this space, badly cutting into the company’s customer base. With people increasingly looking to shop online for sporting goods, Modell’s has seen a steady decline in foot traffic to its stores, leading to declining sales, which the experts over at point out is one of the main reasons behind the company’s decline.

Competition from big-box and specialty retailers

On top of the pressure Modell’s has faced from online retailers, the company has also come under increased competition from big-box retailers like Walmart, as is covered over at These retailers can offer porting goods at very competitive prices, which has made them very attractive to consumers, leading to a further reduction in the foot traffic in Modell’s stores. The company has also come under pressure from specialty retailers which have also contributed to its dwindling sales and decline over the years.

Generational shift

There was a time when almost everyone was into sports, and this hugely benefitted Modell’s as the company sold lots of merchandise. However, as is explained over at, recent years have seen a decline in sports participation among the youth and teenagers, which has affected the company’s bottom line. The current generation of youth and teens aren’t that into team sports, with their interests elsewhere, which explains why sales in the sporting goods industry have been on the decline and which explains Modell’s decline as well.

Shifting power from the retailer to the consumer

Consumers now also have more power than ever before, according to the subject matter experts over at, which is another factor that can be attributed to the company’s decline. This shift of power from the retailer to the consumer is because consumers now have options and have all the power to research and find the products they want at the prices they want to pay. This impacted Modell’s negatively as the company lost out to newer companies that had better prices and had an online presence.

Retail differentiation

Heavy competition from omnichannel merchants and brands is yet another factor that contributed to its decline. As is covered over at Modell’s is predominantly a brick-and-mortar business, which means that company has been unable to or failed, to differentiate itself as a brand enough in the market over the last couple of years. It has, therefore, been unable to stand out in what has become an increasingly competitive industry, losing relevance and culminating in the company recently filing for bankruptcy.

Failure to jump on new trends

Recently we have seen the emergence and rise of athleisure, and the fact that Modell’s was slow to identify and jump on this trend is another factor that led to the company’s decline. As discussed over at, competitors like Nike and Under Armor have been quick to jump on the athleisure trend, introducing fresh merchandise on the same that has seen their sales soar over the last couple of years. Modell’s, on the contrary, was slow to get on this trend, paving the way for its decline.

Competition from traditional apparel retailers

Given the rise in athleisure and how lucrative the sporting goods industry has become in recent years, as discussed over at, more traditional apparel retailers have entered the sportswear market, in a bid to capitalize on the strong demand driven by growing consumer interest in wellness and health. Fast-fashion retailers like H&M have introduced sportswear collections, and this has given Modell’s and other sporting goods retailers increased competition, which also contributed to its decline as the company couldn’t compete adequately.

Sportswear manufacturers have increased their direct-to-consumer efforts

The sporting goods industry has been further compressed in recent years by the move by sportswear manufacturers like Nike to increase their direct-to-consumer efforts, as explained over at These companies have moved to cut out sporting goods retailers like Modell’s, instead opting to sell directly to their consumers, mostly because foot traffic in sporting goods stores has been on the wane for years now. For a company like Modell’s, with a limited e-commerce business, this has been a big blow and is another factor behind its decline.

Bad PR

As is outlined in more detail over at, the company was also a victim of bad PR when the Wall Street Journal began reporting on its woes. This reporting not only hit the company’s reputation, driving customers away, it also spooked vendors, leading to inventory disruptions. This may have been more of a short-term issue, but it did long-term damage to the company and is another factor that contributed to its decline and eventual filing of bankruptcy.

Too many stores

The company also, in the end, had too many stores, which is yet another thing that made it difficult for Modell’s, contributing to its decline. According to discussions on the same over at, with over 150 stores all across the U.S., the company was finding it difficult to honor leases and pay rent while maintaining all these stores, most of which were underperforming. Its extensive footprint, in the end, became too much of a burden to bear, leading to its decline.

The discussion above is only the tip of the iceberg as far as this topic is concerned, and you can uncover more information by visiting the excellent and ever-reliable and