BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, today recognized outstanding Alabama retailers representing 12 retail businesses with operations in 72 Alabama cities and 31 states as Retailers of the Year. The 12 winning Retailers of the Year were chosen from almost 50 nominees. The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2013 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 14th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Jeff Rosenthal, president and chief executive officer for Hibbett Sports, a Birmingham-based chain of neighborhood sporting goods stores, earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. Hibbett has 895 stores in 31 states, including Alabama where it operates 86 stores in 68 Alabama cities. Nationwide, it employs 8,000 with 1,128 working in Alabama. Hibbett has been an Alabama Retail member since 1986. Victor M. Brown, vice president of Minority and Small Business Development for the Birmingham Business Alliance, who nominated Rosenthal for the award, described Hibbett Sports as “an Alabama success story.”
The company was founded in 1945 by high school coach Rufus Hibbett as Dixie Supply Co. Inc. in Florence. Its corporate headquarters have been in Birmingham since 1981, although the corporate offices recently moved to a larger location within the city. Currently, Hibbett is investing $40 million in a 416,000-square-foot wholesale and logistics facility on 60 acres near the Shelby County airport in Alabaster. The new center is slated to open in April of 2014. It will replace Hibbett Sports’ 180,000-square-foot distribution center in Birmingham. The new wholesale and logistics facility, which could grow in the future, will support Hibbett’s growth to 1,500 stores.
Hibbett Sports’ operation margin broke records in 2012. The company has added 99 stores in the past two years, and its customer loyalty program, MVP Rewards, has 3.4 million+ members, according to its Retailer of the Year entry.
Hibbett Sports stores average about 5,000- square-feet and are located in small- to mid-sized markets with its target populations in the county being 25,000 to 75,000. The stores are 20 or more driving minutes away from any big-box sporting-goods competitors, but are in close proximity or in the same shopping center as either a Walmart or a Target. The company’s stores concepts include Hibbett Sports, Sports Additions, Sports & Co. and Hibbett Team Sales Inc. Team Sales is a wholly owned subsidiary.
Jeff Rosenthal has been with Hibbett Sports since 1998, after working several years for Champs Sports. Rosenthal, a graduate of Florida State, was instrumental helping Hibbett Sports implement its “small market” concept. He is a past board chairman for the National Sporting Goods Association.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Jeff Rosenthal is a retailer of the year EVERY year to his customers, employees and the 68 Alabama communities where Hibbett Sports has stores.”
Media Contact: Jeff Rosenthal, Hibbett Sports | 205.942.4292
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423