Sporting Goods 'Titans' Speak Out At SGMA Event

When ‘captains of commerce’ speak, people listen. That’s one way to describe the scene during the Manufacturer-Retailer Panel at SGMA’s 2nd Annual Industry Leaders Summit (ILS).
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 11, 2007 – When ‘captains of commerce' speak, people listen. That's one way to describe the scene during the Manufacturer-Retailer Panel at SGMA's 2nd Annual Industry Leaders Summit (ILS). The event was held March 5-6 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The recently completed ILS culminated in a panel featuring Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour; Tom Raynor, Chairman/CEO of Fleet Feet; Tony Palma, President/CEO of Easton-Bell Sports; and Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods. These leading industry figures focused on opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to work in unison on improving the consumer experience and to debate 'Who Owns the Consumer? And ‘How Do We Collaborate To Enhance the Experience?' This event concluded with a candid Q & A session.

During this panel discussion, all four participants were quite frank and up front with their opinions on the sporting goods industry's current and future challenges. Below are a few of the comments made by the panelists:

Question: “Who Owns the Consumer?”

Answer -- Kevin Plank of Under Armour:
“We all own the customer.” “The most important thing we can do is value the customer.”

Answer – Tom Raynor of Fleet Feet:
“We own the experience in the stores.” “We have an obligation to meet the needs and demands of the consumer.”

Answer – Tony Palma of Easton-Bell Sports:
“Retailers and consumers are our two main customers.” “We make sure we are in touch with our customer – especially parents.” “We are in touch with teenagers making sure we are satisfying their product demands.”

Answer – Mitchell Modell of Modell's Sporting Goods:
“We empower the stores to take care of the consumer.” “We respond to every customer comment.”

Question: “How Do We Collaborate To Enhance the Experience?”

Answer – Kevin Plank of Under Armour:
“We believe that it's incumbent for us to increase the quality of the experience.” “Finding ways to make a relationship a win-win is the key to success.” “Our logo is a guarantee.”

Answer – Tom Raynor of Fleet Feet:
“Our business is all about meeting customer expectations in terms of service, selection, cleanliness, and merchandising.”

Answer – Tony Palma of Easton-Bell Sports:
“We believe that it's incumbent for us to increase the quality of the experience.” “Creating authenticity for your product is the key.” “It's about driving product innovation.”

Answer – Mitchell Modell of Modell's Sporting Goods:
“We listen, respect, and respond.” “We think globally and act locally.” “We invest in people who invest in product.” “We spend a lot of time nurturing relationships (with vendors).” “If there's trust and respect in a relationship, it prospers.”

“Right now, SGMA is well positioned to provide a platform for such dialogue to take place, especially when the talking points affect the sporting goods industry, across the board,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “The SGMA feels a responsibility to attract a wide variety of corporate leaders to one place at the same time. Even though many companies are competitors in this business, a great deal can be gained by learning and working together as one, united industry.”

This year's ILS attracted approximately 80 presidents, CEOs, and chairmen within the sporting goods industry. The purpose of the ILS – an annual town hall-like summit for the sporting goods industry -- was to network and brainstorm on issues of growth and valuation. Discussion ranged from how Wall Street values companies to the shifts in customer dynamics to the challenges of increasing sports participation. In a nutshell, the goal of the ILS was “to establish meaningful examination and momentum for the sporting goods industry's growth.”

It is worth noting that this industry/business discussion took place on-site at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which symbolizes “The Spirit of Enterprise.”

For a complete editorial and pictorial summary of the ILS, go to www.leaders.sgma.com.

The Industry Leaders Summit was sponsored by Wachovia Securities and Hogan & Hartson LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, D.C.

SGMA, the trade association of leading industry sports and fitness brands, enhances industry vitality and fosters sports and fitness participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion and public policy. SGMA produces signature industry events including the Spring Market trade show, Sports+Technology Convergence, Industry Leaders Summit and National Health-through-Fitness Day on Capitol Hill. More information about SGMA membership and SGMA's Sports Research Partnership can be found at www.sgma.com.

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