We shopped at Dick's and Modell's to see which was a better sporting-goods store, and there was a clear winner

Business Insider/Jessica TylerModell’s was underwhelming when we visited.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods and Modell’s are two of the last big sporting-goods stores.
  • Many sporting-goods stores have been closing over the past few years, but in the first quarter of 2018, net sales were up 4.6% at Dick’s while same-store sales dropped 2.5%.
  • As a private company, Modell’s does not release its sales numbers, but the store we visited appeared to be struggling.
  • After shopping at both Dick’s and Modell’s, we found that one provided a much better experience than the other.

Dick’s Sporting Goods and Modell’s are two of the last big sporting-goods stores.

Similar stores have been wavering for years. Sports Authority liquidated in 2016, Eastern Outfitters filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017, and numerous other sporting-goods stores have shuttered in the past few years, according to USA Today.

In the first quarter of 2018, net sales were up 4.6% at Dick’s Sporting Goods while same-store sales dropped 2.5%. Dick’s plans on opening 19 new stores in 2018, and it already has more than 700 locations across the United States. In an earnings call earlier this year, CEO Edward Stack emphasised that the retailer would be focusing on its merchandising strategy, offering fewer promotions and newer products. When we visited the store, we saw quite a few sale signs, but the products the store offered were more current and more organised than what Modell’s offered.

Modell’s, which has some 150 stores, is a private company and does not release its sales numbers. However, when we visited a Modell’s store in New York, it didn’t seem to be doing too well. The prices were great, but that could be because nearly everything was on sale. The store was very dark, and almost no one was shopping there, creating a very eerie atmosphere.

See how the two stores compared during recent visits:


First, I visited Modell’s Sporting Goods in Queens, New York.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were a ton of clearance signs in the window, and from the outside, the store looked closed.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store had low ceilings and was dimly lit and eerily quiet.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The men’s department was the first section of the store, and most things seemed to be on sale.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Sale signs were displayed on clipboards that sat on top of the shelves.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Even though the store itself was pretty depressing, there were definitely some good deals. Almost everything had some sort of sale or special promotion.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The team apparel was less expensive than you might find at a game or on a team’s website, but it took up a surprisingly small part of the store, and the assortment of apparel was pretty random.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The women’s and kids’ clothes and footwear were in the back part of the store, but a huge part of the store was just empty.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store carried plenty of Nike, Adidas, and Champion apparel, as well as a few other smaller brands.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were also a few random products like coolers, Kan Jam games, and men’s shorts mixed in with the women’s apparel.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

More men’s clothes were hidden in the back of the women’s department. I couldn’t quite make sense of how the store was organised.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

One thing Modell’s did have a ton of was equipment. Even though the store itself felt pretty sparse, the equipment section in the back had a ton of everything. The aisles were organised by sport.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was gym equipment and “as seen on tv” fitness gear sold at the end of the sporting equipment, but there wasn’t a ton there.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The footwear department was pretty small, but it carried every major brand, including Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. There was a huge clearance shelf, but even non-clearance items had special promotions.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The fitting rooms, like the rest of the store, were lacklustre. Overall the store was pretty depressing, but on the plus side, it offered a lot of great deals.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I visited Dick’s next, just one neighbourhood over from Modell’s in Queens.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were clearance signs in the entryway, and a sign explained their price-match guarantee.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The inside of the store immediately felt more inviting than Modell’s. It was brighter and cleaner, and it had a more upbeat atmosphere.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Gear and apparel were mostly organised by sport. Everything baseball-related was in one section, everything basketball-related was in another, and so on.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were clearance bins all over the store offering deals, similar to Modell’s. The clearance items were all pretty messy, with boxes everywhere and sale signs falling down.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The apparel part of the store was a lot nicer than at Modell’s. There were big, bright, branded displays for brands like Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour, and the styles felt current.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Everything definitely felt more organised than Modell’s did across the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store was also much cleaner and easier to navigate.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The footwear department was huge and in much better condition than the one at Modell’s. It was also more spacious and had more room to try on shoes.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The selection of gym equipment was a lot more impressive. There was a much bigger variety in what was offered.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The prices were lower at Modell’s for most products, but Dick’s also price-matches competitors.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods


Overall, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ atmosphere was a lot brighter, cleaner, and nicer than Modell’s. The styles for sale were more current, and the store was more organised and had a lot more variety to offer, making it the clear winner.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.