Dick’s announces the hiring of Paul Gaffney, formerly of Home Depot, as chief technology officer.

E-commerce grew 16% and surpassed 10% of sales in the fiscal third quarter at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

The retail chain also reported new investments in omnichannel systems and the hiring of a chief technology officer.

Same-store sales declined 0.9% in the quarter and net income decreased 24.5%, which the retailer blamed on higher store payroll costs, price competition and investments in technology.

Chairman and CEO Edward Stack made clear to analysts in a conference call today that Dick’s will continue to invest in tying stores and online operations more closely together.

“At the core of our omnichannel business are our stores, the role of the stores is changing,” Stack said, according to a transcript from SeekingAlpha. “We are going to continue to make investments that provide the consumer with an enhanced shopping experience. We are increasing our spend in store for training, faster checkout, more payroll, enhanced ship-from-store capabilities and more opportunities for our customers to buy online and pick up in the store.”

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Stack said the chain’s 852 stores fulfill most of the retailer’s online orders and that the company is investing in more technology to aid store employees. For example, he said Dick’s has a system that lets a store associate check all of the retailer’s inventory for an item not in stock at that store and order it for shipment to the consumer’s home or the store.

For the year, Dick’s expects gross capital investment will total $515 million, an increase of 22% from $422 million in 2016.

We are increasing our spend in store for training, faster checkout, more payroll, enhanced ship-from-store capabilities and more opportunities for our customers to buy online and pick up in the store.

Stack also announced that Dick’s hired Paul Gaffney as chief technology officer. “In this role he will be responsible for leading the company’s technology efforts, including our infrastructure, e-commerce platforms and new and evolving digital platforms,” Stack said. Gaffney most recently was senior vice president of information technology at The Home Depot Inc., No. 8 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 ranking of North America’s leading online retailers. Dick’s is No. 56.

Leading e-commerce at Dick’s is Lauren Hobart, who was appointed president of the company earlier this year from chief marketing officer. Besides e-commerce, her responsibilities include marketing, stores and Dick’s Team Sports HQ, an initiative launched in 2016 that offers products and services to youth sports leagues.

Stack said he expects the fourth quarter of this fiscal year will be “fiercely competitive,” and the company projected a decline in same-store sales in the low single digits. Nonetheless, he emphasized the retailer does not plan to cut back on investments.

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“Because of the confidence we have in our business long term, we plan to make significant investments in our business in Q4 and into next year,” he said. “This will have a short-term negative impact on our earnings. However, we expect these investments will pay meaningful dividends in the future.”

For the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 28, Dick’s Sporting Goods reported:

  • Online sales grew about 16% compared to the same quarter a year ago, and accounted for 10.3% of net sales versus 9.6% in the year-ago quarter. That suggests online sales grew to about $200.3 million in the quarter from $173.8 million a year ago.
  • Net sales increased 7.4% to $1.944 billion from $1.810 billion.
  • Net income fell 24.5% to $36.9 million from $48.9 million.

For the first three quarters of its fiscal year, Dick’s reported:

  • Net sales of $5.926 billion, an increase of 9.0% from $5.439 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Net income of $207.5 million, up 5.2% from $197.2 million.

While Dick’s did not report online sales for the year, this and previous reports indicate that web revenue increased 16.5% during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year to $575.3 million from $493.8 million last year.

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As of Oct. 28, the retailer operated 719 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, 98 Golf Galaxy stores and 35 Field & Stream stores, while also operating e-commerce sites for all three brands.

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