Do you love sports? Do you like to do sports or follow sports competitions with a certain interest, and you have decided to share this passion by opening a sports store? However, you are not sure where to start or turn this project close to your heart into reality?

Good news, in this article, you will discover useful information to get started in opening your sports store: market study, business plan, franchise, or independent opening. We will review all the steps here to go through before opening a sports store.

sports shoe retail store

#1. Carry out the market research of a sports store

The excellent health of the sporting goods retail sector

Today's sports market represents 37 billion euros in Europe or nearly 2% of the national gross domestic product (GDP). As for the sporting goods distribution market, according to the National Federation of Profession Sports and Leisure, in 2014, it generated more than 10 billion euros in turnover.

A sign of the sector's good health, the turnover of the sporting goods trade increased in volume and value in 2015, a year in which the French sports market increased by 7%.

These figures can be explained by sustained household consumption. Indeed, the French spend an average of 253 euros per year on sports articles.

Sport is on the rise. Sunday athletes, just like real addicts who feel bad if they haven't run three times a week, are constantly improving.

The 35 hours, which caused an increase in the time devoted to leisure, are one of the explanations for this enthusiasm for the sport. But this is also and above all a clear sign of the very great attention paid to health and well-being in our society.

This reason explains, in particular, the success of sport among seniors and women. Suppose we see an increase in the number of licensees in sports federations. In that case, we also notice that young retirees also invest in sports clubs and that women regularly practice multiple sports activities.

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The strengths of the sports industry market

France has sizeable assets to position itself advantageously on the sports market.

First of all, sport is the favorite hobby of the French ( Study by the Directorate General of Enterprises, Ministry of the Economy and Finance ).

In addition, France benefits from an industrial fabric driven by leading companies of international level such as Oxylane, Rossignol, Salomon, Babolat, or Petzl, as underlined by the study, challenges, and perspectives of sports industries in France and internationally. , the fruit of a partnership between the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Sports.

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Typology of players in the distribution of sporting goods

The practice of sport is emerging as a major trend, accompanied by a real craze for outdoor activities. Sportswear supports the sector's growth and brand, and even luxury products should continue to support the rise in this sporting goods market.

However, if the success seems to be there, be careful because the competition is very strong, and the small independent traders, already few, should still see their number become scarce due to a concentration of the market with large specialized brands.

Specialized trade largely dominates the sporting goods market since these stores work with large groups, such as Décathlon or Gosport. In 2015, the French market for sporting goods was estimated at 10.7 billion euros.

Next, in the sportswear category are the brands' own networks (Adidas, Nike, Aigle, Puma points of sale, etc.), mass distribution, and department stores.

To open a sports clothing display store, it is essential to do market research before you start.

You will have to study the dynamics at the implantation area level to verify that there is sufficient demand to allow the arrival of a new entrant in the market and to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

To do this, you will need to find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are the most popular sports in the your city?
  • What are the best selling sports equipment?
  • Where do athletes equip themselves today? 
  • Where do people usually buy sports?
  • Where do your competitors usually sell?
  • How to find a sport display manufacturer?
  • Is there a community of athletes whose needs are not met by the current offer?

#2. Defining the concept of your sports store: What to sell

Once the market research of your sports store has been carried out, you will have to rely on the data collected to define its commercial positioning.

You will need to decide on the type of point of sale you want to open:

  • What products can easily find?
  • Where to reach the sports shoes supplier?
  • Will you target occasional athletes or those with intensive practice?
  • Are you going to franchise a brand or create your own brand?
  • Will you offer additional services such as maintenance and repair?
  • Will you open your shoe kiosk in shopping mall or start a shoe store on street?
  • What will differentiate you from the competition?

You can opt for a general store, or one dedicated to sportswear, or a sports store specializing in a single discipline such as running, for example.

This choice will depend partly on the type of stores already established near yours. If there are already 3 general stores, you may want to opt for a specialized store to stand out from the competition and make it easier for you to find your place In the local market.

You can, of course, also take over an existing sports store, although this option is undoubtedly rarer.

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#3. Open a sports store: independent or franchise?

One of the questions you will also have to ask yourself when choosing the concept is opening an independent or franchised sports store.

Before deciding on one or the other structure, keep in mind that membership in a group of brands makes it possible to offer the major brands negotiated by purchasing centers and benefit from recognition—immediate brand. Opening your sports franchise store is, therefore, the option that seems the easiest.

Many brands are looking for entrepreneurs ready to set up a sports store. One thinks Sport 2000, Fitness Boutique, City Sport, Cyclable, Endurance Shop, or Foot Locker.

Opening a sports franchise store allows you to hope for a faster start and a good return on investment, thanks to a concept that has proven itself. However, this comes with a cost (entrance fee, annual fee) and a certain loss of freedom, especially concerning the products you can offer.

#4. Finding a location for your sports store

The location of your sports store is extremely important.

Ideally, you want to find a location with good traffic, such as a downtown shopping area or a shopping center. However, it is not always easy to find premises large and cheap enough to set up a sports shop.

The alternative is to move to a more remote area. This cheaper option may be viable if you opt for a specialty sports store, but it is riskier for a general store.

For example, if you are the only skate shop within 30km around, the chances are that fans of the sport will make an effort to come to you. On the other hand, it may be more complicated to attract customers if you are yet another sports shoe store.

READ MORE: How to open a shoe store?

#5. The legal structure needed to create a sports store?

After you have done your market research, defined a concept, and found the premises for your future sports store, you will need to consider the legal status of your business.

The choice of the legal form should not be taken lightly because it will depend in particular on:

  • The method of taxation of the company
  • The social regime of the directors
  • The administrative formalities to be accomplished
  • The conditions under which decisions will be taken Within the company (called governance).

Therefore, you will need to choose a legal status suited to your project, particularly the amount of capital committed and the number of partners.

#6. The Workers and material needs to create a sports store

Next step in the implementation of your project to create a sports store: the definition of the human and material needs necessary for the opening of your store.

The investments required to launch a sports store

Creating a sports store requires significant initial investments:

  • fitting out of the premises: possible renovation work and purchase of furniture for the shop (shelves, displays, counters for checkouts, etc.)
  • purchase of the initial stock of products
  • purchase of equipment necessary for sale (cash register, payment terminal) and management (office equipment, IT equipment)
  • marketing investment (illuminated sign, website, etc.)

The cost of all these elements essential to the launch of your store will have to be evaluated and taken into account in your estimated budget.

The staffing needs of a sports store

In addition to the hardware equipment, you will also need to consider the personnel requirements of such a project.

You will need to think about the size of the team necessary for the proper functioning of the business. This will depend in particular on the desired opening hours and the size of your retail space.

You will also need to anticipate how you will recruit and train staff. Your salespeople will need to be knowledgeable in sales techniques and in sport to be able to offer an advisory dimension to your customers, who are generally very keen on buying the product most suited to their practice.

Management and administration

Finally, it will also take into account the needs on the administrative part of the company, in particular:

  • Accountability
  • Payroll
  • Supply management
  • Management of staff schedules
  • Care and maintenance
  • Insurance, in particular, professional liability

The administrative part can quickly become quite time-consuming. To free yourself of time, do not hesitate to outsource part of it, for example, by calling on a chartered accountant.

To best measure, the budget necessary for these different expenses, consider requesting quotes from several suppliers.

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#7. The marketing plan of a sports store

Another element to take into account in your estimated budget: the cost of marketing actions.

The marketing plan brings together all the actions that will allow you to promote your store, attract customers, and then build loyalty.

It is therefore particularly important to establish a precise, rigorous, and effective marketing plan.

You might want to consider the following actions:

  • launch a street marketing campaign to get to know the inhabitants of the neighborhood
  • communicate on social networks, possibly with attractive promotional offers
  • set up a loyalty program
  • create geolocated advertising campaigns to target Internet users looking for sporting goods near your store
  • drop brochures in the mailboxes of residents
  • start a campaign on a local radio station, or put an ad in the newspapers

#8. The business plan of a sports store

Once the marketing plan has been defined, you can then devote yourself to the business plan of your sports store.

This document contains a written part used to present the project and its assets, as well as a financial forecast aimed at highlighting the financing needs and the profitability potential of your future store.

The business plan will allow you to ensure that the project is financially viable and will serve as a reference document for the search for funding. The business plan is like your company's CV. It should be concise, to the point, and convincing.

#9. Buy Store Fixtures For your Sports store

Yes, You are not seen wrong: a sports store also needs a display fixture to display them. Wall display shelves, racking systems, free display stands, even display plinth are necessary for furniture retail shops. Good design store fixtures and shopfitting can largely improve your interior space and increase the workflow. Moreover, leave a good impression on customers.

Ant Display customized design and build display fixtures and retail stands for all kinds of sports stores, whether big or small; you can always find the right display station to present your furniture in the best way. 

#10. Fundraising to launch a sports store

Opening a franchised sports store requires an initial investment that varies depending on the brand you want to join. All the same, count between € 30,000 and € 150,000 as an initial investment to complete your project.

Several options are available to you to raise the necessary sum for the creation of your business.

You will obviously need a contribution in equity, that is to say, money provided by the company's partners.

You can also turn to your bank to finance part of the initial stock or equipment purchases with professional credit. However, obtaining a bank loan for creation is not always easy.

In case of refusal, you can turn to private investors (your relatives or business angels in your region, for example).

The Internet can also be your ally in your fundraising. You can indeed launch a collection on a crowdfunding platform to raise the sum that you lack from individuals in the form of investment in the company or donations in exchange for gifts. This solution also makes it possible to publicize the upcoming opening of your store to your community.

Also, think about aid dedicated to business creation offered by the State or your region.

That's it for this time, and we hope this article has given you a better understanding of opening a sports store. If you have any questions, please let us know. And if you think this article might be of interest to someone you know, please share it!