Forzani Group (FGL.TO) plans to open more than 25 new stores this year as the country’s biggest sporting goods retailer takes advantage of a weak economy and an increase in available property.
Calgary-based Forzani, whose banners include Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Coast Mountain Sports, said on Wednesday it had earmarked about C$30 million to C$35 million for capital expenditures in its 2010 fiscal year, mostly for the store openings.
The plans call for at least 14 new corporate stores, resulting in upward of 4.8 million additional square feet, with another 12 stores, or 1.9 million square feet, planned for its franchise stores, with a push into the big-box format.
“I’m surprised they are opening as many,” said Robert Gibson, an analyst at Octagon Capital. “Every other retailer is pulling in their horns, but they are being very aggressive.”
The company has about 550 corporate and franchise stores across the country.
Forzani’s growth plans come as a number of retailers, including sportswear chain Lululemon Athletica (LLL.TO), have said they would slow expansion plans in the years ahead in an effort to ink long-term lease agreements at more attractive prices.
Read Scott Anderson’s full article “Forzani pushes new store openings despite downturn” in Reuters (April 8, 2009).