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The following is an excerpt from a 10-K SEC Filing, filed by SPORTS AUTHORITY INC /DE/ on 4/15/2004.
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SPORTS AUTHORITY INC /DE/ - 10-K - 20040415 - PART_I


PART I

ITEM 1. Business; and ITEM 2. Properties

General

        On August 4, 2003, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gart Sports Company completed a merger with The Sports Authority, Inc., creating the nation's largest publicly traded full-line sporting goods retailer with pro forma combined sales of approximately $2.5 billion in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2004. The combined company operated 384 stores in 45 states as of January 31, 2004. The merger was accounted for under the purchase method of accounting with Gart Sports Company as the acquirer, and accordingly, our financial information includes TSA since the date of the merger. Prior year financial information and financial information for the first 26 weeks of the 52 weeks ended January 31, 2004, reflect the former Gart Sports Company on a stand-alone basis.

        In connection with the merger, The Sports Authority, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gart Sports Company. Gart Sports Company was then renamed The Sports Authority, Inc. and the former The Sports Authority, Inc. was renamed TSA Stores, Inc. ("TSA Stores"). Except as otherwise indicated herein, the words "we," "us," "our," and "Company" refer to The Sports Authority, Inc. (formerly Gart Sports Company), and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, references to "Gart Sports" or to the "Sports Authority" refer to the stores operated under those brand names by certain of our wholly-owned subsidiaries and the "TSA merger" means the Gart Sports Company/The Sports Authority, Inc. merger described above.

        At the time of the merger, TSA Stores operated 205 Sports Authority stores. In addition, a joint venture between TSA Stores and AEON Co., Ltd. operated 39 Sports Authority stores in Japan under a licensing agreement.

        We currently operate our stores under four brand names: Sports Authority, Gart Sports, Oshman's and Sportmart. Gart Sports' business was established in 1928 and Gart Sports Company was incorporated in Delaware in 1993. In January 1998, Gart Sports acquired 59 Sportmart superstores, doubling its store base and expanding its geographic presence to eight additional states. In June 2001, Gart Sports acquired 58 Oshman's stores, increasing its store base by nearly 50% and expanding its geographic presence to nine additional states. Finally, the TSA merger in August 2003 more than doubled the Company's store base and expanded its presence to 20 additional states.

        Our corporate headquarters are located at 1050 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood, Colorado 80110, and our telephone number is (303) 200-5050. Our website is located at www.thesportsauthority.com. We are not including the information contained on our website as part of, or incorporating it by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Industry Overview, Competition

        The sporting goods retail sector is highly fragmented and intensely competitive. This sector is comprised of five principal categories of retailers: large format sporting goods stores, traditional sporting goods stores, specialty sporting goods stores, mass merchandisers and catalog and internet based retailers. In addition, a variety of other retailers sell various types of sporting goods, principally athletic footwear and apparel.

        Large Format Sporting Goods Stores.     Full line sporting goods retailers, like us, generally range in size from 20,000 to 100,000 square feet, offer a broad selection of brand name sporting goods and tend to be either anchor stores in strip malls or in free-standing locations. Examples of these retailers include our stores (which include Sports Authority, Gart Sports, Sportmart and Oshman's), Dick's Sporting Goods, Sport Chalet, Galyan's Trading Company, GI Joe's, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Decathlon and Dunham's Sports.



        Traditional Sporting Goods Stores.     Traditional sporting goods retailers tend to have relatively small stores, generally range in size from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet and are frequently located in malls or strip centers. Examples of these retailers are Modell's Sporting Goods, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sporting Goods, as well as local independent sporting goods retailers. These retailers typically carry limited quantities of each item in their assortment and generally offer a more limited selection at higher prices than full line sporting goods retailers.

        Specialty Sporting Goods Stores.     Specialty sporting goods retailers include specialty shops and are frequently located in malls or strip centers. Examples of these retailers include Edwin Watts Golf Shops, Golfsmith, Nevada Bob's, Champs, Foot Locker, Foot Action, The Athlete's Foot, Bass Pro Shops, The Finish Line, West Marine, Cabela's and REI. These retailers also include pro shops that often are single store operations. Specialty sporting goods retailers typically carry a wide assortment of one specific product category, such as athletic shoes or golf, tennis, camping or outdoor equipment and generally have higher prices than full line sporting goods retailers.

        Mass Merchandisers.     Mass merchandisers' stores generally range in size from 50,000 to 200,000 square feet, feature sporting goods as part of their overall assortment and are located primarily in strip centers, free-standing locations or shopping malls. Stores in this category include discount retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart, warehouse clubs such as Costco, and department stores such as JC Penney and Sears. These retailers usually have limited selection and fewer brand names and typically do not offer the customer service offered by specialty and full line sporting goods retailers.

        Catalog and Internet Based Retailers.     We compete with catalog and internet retailers such as L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Land's End and Cabela's, internet retailers, and sporting goods websites operated by GSI Commerce, Inc.

        We believe that we will continue to face competition from retailers in each of these categories. The principal competitive factors include store location and image, product selection, quality, price, and customer service. Increased competition in markets in which we have stores, the adoption by competitors of innovative store formats and retail sales methods, the entry of new competitors in our markets or the expansion of operations by existing competitors in our markets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, some of our competitors have substantially greater resources than us. We believe that the principal strengths with which we compete are our broad selection and competitive prices combined with a high level of customer service and brand names typically available only in specialty stores and pro shops.

Business Strategy

        Our business strategy is to provide our customers with an extensive selection of high quality, brand name merchandise at competitive prices with a high level of customer service. The key elements of our business strategy are the following:

        Broad Assortment of Quality, Brand Name Products.     We carry over 125,000 active Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), including popular brands like Adidas, Coleman, Columbia, Easton, FootJoy, K2, New Balance, Nike, Rawlings, Reebok, Rollerblade, Rossignol, Russell, Salomon, Spalding, Speedo, The North Face and Wilson. Our customer service, expert technicians and specialty store presentation enable us to purchase directly from manufacturers the full product lines typically available only in specialty stores and pro shops, such as Armour, Cleveland, Taylor Made, and Titleist golf accessories, Schwinn Fitness, Haro Bikes, Diamondback bikes, Volkl ski equipment and Burton snowboards.

        Attractive Shopping Environment.     We seek to offer an attractive shopping environment that showcases the breadth of our product offerings and reinforces our distinctive brand image. Our brightly-lit stores are designed to project a clean, upscale atmosphere, with a user-friendly layout

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featuring wide aisles, well-organized merchandise displays and clearly defined departments arranged in a logical and convenient floor plan.

        Customer Service.     Our objective is to provide a high level of customer service generally associated with specialty sporting goods stores and pro shops. We have committed increased resources to our customer service program in an effort to achieve these high standards. In 2003, we began using a commission program to increase the level of customer service in many of our technical areas such as bikes, fitness, ski, and golf. We use an independent professional shopping service to monitor the stores' compliance with customer service initiatives and procedures. In addition, we offer our customers special services including special order capability, equipment rental, on-site repair centers, ski lift tickets and hunting and fishing licenses. We strive to provide a high level of technical service for products, including skis and snowboards, bikes, exercise equipment and hunting products.

        Customized Merchandise Mix.     We tailor our product mix to market to specific demographic groups and lifestyles. Purchasing decisions are made on a regional, and sometimes a store by store basis, and field personnel work directly with our buyers to achieve the appropriate product mix in each store. Various factors typically influence the product mix in a particular market, like disposable income, professional and amateur sports activities and specific regional and seasonal activities.

        Promotional Advertising and Marketing.     We use a promotional pricing and advertising strategy focused on the creation of "events" to drive traffic and sales in our stores. Each event is based upon either a key shopping period, such as the winter holiday season, Father's Day or Back-to-School, or a specific sales or promotional event, including the annual Sniagrab® ("bargains" spelled backwards) sale, which we believe is the largest pre-season ski and snowboard sale in the United States. Our strategy of clustering stores in major markets enables us to employ an aggressive advertising strategy on a cost-effective basis, utilizing primarily newspaper and, to a lesser degree, radio and television.

        E-Commerce.     Under license and e-commerce agreements with GSI Commerce, Inc. ("GSI"), GSI operates sporting goods retail websites at www.thesportsauthority.com, www.gartsports.com, www.sportmart.com, and www.oshmans.com. Under these agreements, GSI owns certain content and technology related to the website, purchases and owns the merchandise sold on the websites, and hosts, maintains, fulfills orders and furnishes all other "back-end" operations required to operate the websites. GSI Commerce receives all revenue generated from the websites and pays us a royalty based on a certain percentage of sales from these sites.

Merchandising

        We offer our customers over 125,000 active SKUs of high quality, brand name sporting goods and apparel. New brands and products are continuously introduced and featured in our stores and our advertising. Our merchandise is broadly classified into one of two major categories, hardlines or softlines. Hardlines include items like skis, golf equipment, bicycles, exercise equipment and outdoor gear, including camping, hunting and fishing. Softlines consist primarily of apparel, footwear and outerwear.

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        The following table sets forth our percentage of total net sales for each major product category for the periods indicated:

 
  Fiscal Years
 
 
  2003
  2002
  2001
 
 
  (Unaudited)

  (Unaudited)

  (Unaudited)

 
Hardlines   51.4 % 51.2 % 51.6 %
Softlines              
  Apparel   26.1   26.7   25.5  
  Footwear   22.5   22.1   22.9  
   
 
 
 
    Subtotal   48.6   48.8   48.4  
   
 
 
 
    Total   100.0 % 100.0 % 100.0 %
   
 
 
 

    Winter Equipment and Apparel

        We believe that our stores offer the widest selection of ski and snowboard merchandise in the Western United States and we expect to significantly expand our winter sports offering in Sports Authority stores in the northeast. Our extensive selection consists of winter sports apparel, accessories and equipment for general use and for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. We have become a leader in snowboard retailing offering a wide range of snowboard-related products, including snowboards, boots, bindings and apparel. We offer products from a wide variety of well-known winter sports equipment and apparel suppliers, including Atomic, Columbia, K2, Salomon, Rossignol, Technica, Nordica, Ride, Morrow, Lamar, Vans, Pro-Tec, DaKine and Smith. In addition to offering the most widely known and available popular brands, our stores carry winter equipment and apparel from manufacturers that are typically only available in specialty stores, like Spyder, The North Face, Volkl, Mountainsmith and Burton.

        Many of our stores offer customer rentals of winter sports equipment, including skis, snowboards, boots, snowshoes and poles. The rental equipment ranges from entry-level products designed for beginners to advanced products for more accomplished skiers and snowboarders. Other services offered in these stores include demo ski programs, custom boot fitting, ski mounting, complete ski and snowboard repair facilities, each with specialized equipment, and the convenience of in-store lift ticket sales to area resorts.

        Ongoing remodeling of ski departments in our stores includes the addition of specially designed fixtures for displaying ski and snowboard packages, poles and bindings, enhanced vendor presence in signing and graphics and accessory fixturing that will highlight various categories like socks, goggles, gloves, mittens, hats and helmets.

    Footwear, In-line Skates and General Apparel

        Our stores carry a full line of athletic footwear, sportswear and apparel designed for a wide variety of activities and performance levels. Footwear is available for diverse activities like basketball, baseball, football, soccer, tennis, golf, aerobics, running, walking, cycling, hiking, cross-training, wrestling and snowshoeing. We are also a major retailer of in-line and ice hockey skates and skateboards. Our broad assortment of footwear vendors includes Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, New Balance, Timberland, K-Swiss, Saucony, Vans, K2 and Rollerblade. Our wide variety of apparel includes athletic basics and sports-specific collections, as well as swimwear, outdoor apparel and casual apparel. We offer men's, women's and children's styles in all categories. During seasonal timeframes, we emphasize our ski and snowboard apparel and accessories in the appropriate markets. In addition, we carry a broad selection of licensed apparel for professional and college teams that is tailored to each specific market. Our

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extensive variety of well-known apparel vendors includes Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, The North Face, Burton, Ride, Spyder, Columbia, Salomon, Levi's, Carhartt, Quiksilver, Champion and Russell.

    Team Sports, Exercise and Outdoor Recreation

        Team Sports and Exercise.     We offer a broad range of brand name equipment for traditional team sports, including football, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, volleyball, lacrosse and soccer. We also carry a variety of fitness equipment, including treadmills, stationary bicycles, home gyms, elliptical trainers, weight machines and free weights and equipment for recreational activities including table tennis, foosball, air hockey, darts, volleyball, croquet and horseshoes. In addition, we offer home delivery and in-home set up of exercise equipment and outdoor equipment (such as basketball hoops and trampolines). Our stores carry brands like Icon, Proform, Reebok, Nike Equipment, Easton, Louisville Slugger, Lifetime Products, Rawlings, Wilson, Spalding, Goalrilla, Bauer and Schwinn.

        Golf and Tennis.     We maintain a wide assortment of golf and tennis apparel and equipment to cater to every type of customer, ranging from the recreational athlete to the most avid sports enthusiast. Most of our stores have a tennis stringing and re-gripping center and several stores offer demo rackets. Many stores feature indoor putting greens and driving cages, enabling customers to try out equipment prior to purchase. We have access to products from a wide variety of well-known golf and racquet sports equipment and apparel suppliers, including Taylor Made, Callaway, Nike Golf, Cleveland, Armour Golf, Titleist, Wilson, Prince and Head. In fiscal 2003, we completed a new golf department prototype called "Golf Day" which is a specialty store-within-a-store concept designed to create a more convenient, customer-friendly shopping environment. The "Golf Day" concept was implemented in 19 stores in fiscal 2003, and we intend to implement the concept in approximately 51 additional stores in fiscal 2004.

        Cycling.     In most of our stores, we offer a selection of bicycles, including mountain bikes, BMX bikes and youth bikes, from manufacturers like Diamondback, Mongoose, K2, Haro and Huffy. Our stores carry cycling apparel, accessories and components from suppliers like Bell, Kryptonite, Nike, Pearl Izumi, Giro and Thule. Most of our stores have their own bicycle repair facility where work can be performed on most makes and models of bicycles, including those purchased from other retailers. Our stores also carry a selection of scooters, including gas powered and electric.

        Water Sports.     We carry a broad selection of products designed for a variety of water sports, including recreational and competitive swimming, water skiing, canoeing, knee boarding, wake boarding, body boarding, surfing and a variety of pool toys. Suppliers of these products include Body Glove, HO, O'Brien and O'Neill. Swimsuits and accessories are available from Nike, OP, Quiksilver, Speedo, Tyr, Island Soul, Nautica and Anne Cole. In addition, we carry snorkeling equipment and wet suits.

    Hunting, Fishing and Camping Apparel and Equipment

        Hunting.     We carry a broad selection of hunting equipment and accessories, including eye and ear protection, gun cabinets and safes. In particular markets, our stores provide a complete selection of sporting arms, scopes, clothing and hunting licenses. We carry top brand names like Remington, Beretta, Browning, Leupold, Weatherby, Winchester and Ruger.

        Fishing.     Our stores offer a broad range of freshwater and salt water fishing equipment, accessories and fishing licenses. In particular markets, we offer instructional fishing courses on topics such as fly tying and salt water fishing. We sell equipment and accessories from widely known fishing equipment and accessory manufacturers including Shimano, Shakespeare, Berkley, Scientific Angler and Daiwa.

        Camping.     Our stores typically carry a wide selection of outdoor products for most types of camping, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking and other outdoor activities. In particular markets, we offer

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products from a broad range of manufacturers, including Coleman, Jansport, Kelty, Slumberjack and The North Face.

        Expansion of Private Label Program.     In 2001, we purchased the "Alpine Design" trademark in an effort to expand our private label program with a recognized and established national brand. Following the TSA merger, we were able to expand our private label offerings to include the following private brands that were being sold in Sports Authority stores: "The Sports Authority," "TSA Total Sports America," "TSA Athletic," "Estero," "Parkside," "Northpoint Adventure Gear," "Masse," "ProV2," "Woodbridge," "Ocean Ridge," "CO2" and "Tranquil Escapes." As a result of the TSA merger, we also acquired the rights to market certain "Head" and "Body Glove" merchandise under licenses and we acquired use of the "Golf Day" brand name. We intend to continue expanding this portion of our business not only for the additional margin contribution, but also for the added value benefits for the consumer. We source apparel, including outdoor and snowsports apparel as well as lifestyle apparel, and footwear and hardline products, including primarily camping and fishing products, under our private label program. This program allows us to provide the customer enhanced value through quality and lower pricing. Control of product advertising and market positioning of products are additional strategic benefits of our private label program.

Our Stores

        We create a dynamic shopping atmosphere that appeals broadly to both the casual sporting goods customer and the sports enthusiast. Based on more than 70 years of experience in the sporting goods retail industry, we have developed a superstore prototype designed to feature the quality and variety of brand name merchandise offered in our stores. The majority of our stores are superstores, which typically range in size from 30,000 to 45,000 square feet. In select markets, we will open superstores ranging from 48,000 to 50,000 square feet. Generally, 80% of store space is dedicated to selling while 20% is used for office and non-retail functions. We have determined that the superstore format provides the best opportunity for growth and is the primary prototype for future store openings.

        We also have a limited number of smaller format stores, ranging from 15,000 to 25,000 feet. These stores include freestanding and strip center stores which more closely resemble traditional sporting goods stores and stores in enclosed shopping malls, which carry a selection of merchandise intended to appeal to the mall-oriented shopper, focusing on apparel and footwear.

        Our prototypical store layout features a racetrack configuration with apparel and specialty brand shops in the middle of the store and the specialty hardlines departments along the outside of the racetrack. The lighting, flooring and color scheme is designed to enhance the presentation of the merchandise and avoid a warehouse-type atmosphere. We capitalize on consumers' awareness of our brands through custom, full-color graphic packages, designed to be compatible with standard fixtures.

        As a result of the TSA merger, our store remodeling program has been significantly expanded. Under this comprehensive program, virtually all Sports Authority stores will receive some level of remodeling over the next two years, ranging from new apparel fixtures and signage to major store refurbishment. The program is designed to improve the look and feel of the stores and to align the merchandising layout and overall visual presentation of Sports Authority stores with Gart, Sportmart and Oshman's stores. As such, the program will incorporate a number of initiatives implemented in Gart and Oshman stores in the last few years, including updated merchandising standards and fixture programs for increased capacity and visibility of hardlines merchandise and implementation of floor layout "models" by format and market, which ensures consistency in merchandising from store to store.

        Most Sports Authority stores will receive the new standardized fixture package rolled out to the Gart chain over the past three years, which focuses on increasing capacity and flexibility. Our fixture package utilizes a set of apparel fixtures, accessories, signage and graphics that clearly define the product categories and sub-categories to create a more customer friendly environment. We negotiate

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with apparel vendors on an ongoing basis to use these same fixtures in developing vendor shop areas. This coordinated effort produces a completely integrated, flexible apparel fixture program.

        We intend to perform remodels on approximately 70 stores, primarily Sports Authority stores, in fiscal 2004 ranging from major remodels to minor upgrades and installation of standardized fixture packages.

Operations, Customer Service and Training

        Typically, our superstores have 30 to 60 associates and technicians, while our non-superstores employ a staff of approximately 20 to 25. Additional seasonal support is hired during Father's Day, Back-to-School, the winter holiday season and the annual Sniagrab® pre-season ski sale.

        We are committed to providing our customers with a satisfying shopping experience. To achieve this, we constantly strive to provide friendly and knowledgeable sales associates to deliver a level of service generally associated with specialty sporting goods stores and pro shops. We continue to commit significant resources to the training of sales associates by conducting regional vendor clinics, which teach both technical and salesmanship skills covering a broad range of sporting goods categories. In addition, we offer vendor-based website-training for some of the more technical products in our assortments. Incentive plans have been developed that are intended to keep our sales associates focused on serving customers. We also continue to employ outside shopping services to provide us with an independent assessment of both general customer service and cashier customer service levels at each of our stores.

        Our stores are typically open seven days a week adjusted as required by law in individual markets. Additionally, our stores are open on most holidays and for extended hours during key selling periods or special events.

Site Selection and Location

        In new store locations, we consider the demographic and lifestyle characteristics of a market, including, among other factors, levels of disposable income; trade area; local buying patterns; enthusiasm for outdoor recreation; popularity of collegiate and professional sports teams; and regional sports activities.

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        The following table sets forth the location, by state, of our stores, as of January 31, 2004:

State

  Number
of Stores

California   52
Florida   45
Illinois   32
Texas   29
Colorado   24
New Jersey   15
New York   13
Arizona   12
Georgia   12
Maryland   11
Utah   11
Washington   11
Virginia   10
Michigan   8
Minnesota   8
Connecticut   7
Idaho   7
North Carolina   7
Missouri   6
Pennsylvania   6
Massachusetts   5
New Mexico   5
South Carolina   4
Wyoming   4
Hawaii   3
Louisiana   3
Nevada   3
Ohio   3
Oregon   3
Tennessee   3
Wisconsin   3
Arkansas   2
Kansas   2
Montana   2
New Hampshire   2
Oklahoma   2
Alabama   1
Alaska   1
Delaware   1
Indiana   1
Iowa   1
Maine   1
Mississippi   1
Nebraska   1
Rhode Island   1
   
  Total   384
   

        We plan to open new stores primarily in existing and adjacent markets to further leverage our existing distribution systems, advertising programs and management structure. We opened 14 new stores in fiscal 2003 and intend to open approximately 23 new stores and relocate two stores in fiscal 2004.

        In conjunction with the TSA merger, we have identified approximately 27 Sports Authority stores to be closed or relocated. The decision to close these stores was based on substandard performance prior to the merger, or because such stores overlapped with existing Gart, Sportmart or Oshman's stores. Through January 31, 2004, we had completed the closure of eleven Sports Authority stores and the relocation of two others. Additionally, we closed one Gart Sports store in an overlapping market, and two small-format stores where the leases expired. We expect to complete the closure of the remaining Sports Authority stores identified in the merger integration process over the next 12 to 15 months.

Management Information Systems

        In 2003, we devoted significant resources to the integration of TSA Stores' systems and the Gart Sports' systems. By the end of fiscal 2003, all significant systems had been fully integrated, including merchandise procurement, store communications and telecommunications systems, and all financial reporting applications. We continue to focus on the integration of the TSA Stores' warehouse management systems and store point-of-sale systems, and expect to be substantially completed with the integration of all systems by the end of fiscal 2004.

        We have installed sophisticated management information systems that use the JDA retail software system operating on multiple iSeries and open system platforms. We utilize both IBM 4690 and NCR

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7453 point-of-sale systems that incorporate scanning, price look-up and store level access to our merchandise information systems. Our fully integrated management information systems track purchasing, sales and inventory transfers down to the SKU level and have allowed us to improve overall inventory management by identifying individual SKU activity and projecting trends and replenishment needs on a timely basis. We utilize a fully integrated merchandise planning and allocation system that facilitates optimal distribution of most products to the stores through the integration of historical sales data and forecasted data at an individual store and item level.

        A state-of-the-art data warehouse application provides real-time inventory, sales, margin and payroll information for a variety of users. This tool allows our merchandising staff to analyze product and pricing strategies, our operations staff to optimize its investments in store labor and our executive staff to monitor key business performance indicators on a daily basis. Store operations personnel in every location have online access to e-mail, product signage, standard operating procedures, store level financial performance reports and advertising information through our corporate intranet. Additionally, we utilize radio frequency scanning for receiving and price look-up functions at all of our stores and distribution centers. This technology allows us to streamline our merchandise handling and inventory management, and should result in lower overall cost of inventory ownership and improved accuracy in forecasting merchandise needs.

Marketing and Advertising

        Our comprehensive marketing program is designed to promote our extensive selection of brand name and private label products at competitive prices. The program is centered on extensive newspaper advertising supplemented by television, radio and billboard ads. The advertising strategy is focused on weekly newspaper advertising utilizing both multi-page pre-printed flyer inserts and standard run of press advertising, with additional emphasis on key shopping periods, like the winter holiday season, Father's Day, Back-to-School, and on specific sales and promotional events, including the annual Sniagrab® ski sale. The focus of Sports Authority's advertising and promotion has traditionally been encouraging consumers to "Get Out and Play," and to make participation in or attendance at almost any type of sports, leisure or recreational activity a meaningful part of their lifestyle.

        Our strategy of clustering stores in major markets enables us to employ an aggressive advertising strategy on a cost-effective basis through the use of newspaper, radio and television advertising. Our goal is to be one of the dominant sporting goods advertisers in each of our markets. We advertise in major metropolitan newspapers as well as regional newspapers circulated in areas surrounding our store locations. Newspaper advertising typically consists of weekly promotional ads with three-color inserts. Television advertising is generally concentrated three to four days prior to a promotional event or key shopping period. Radio advertising is used primarily to publicize specific promotions in conjunction with newspaper advertising or to announce a public relations promotion or new store grand opening. Billboards emphasizing our image and high quality brand name merchandise are strategically located on high traffic thoroughfares near store locations. Vendor payments under cooperative advertising arrangements with us, as well as vendor buy-ins to sponsor sporting events and programs, have significantly contributed to our advertising leverage.

        Our advertising is designed to create an "event" in the stores and to drive customer traffic with advertisements promoting a wide variety of sale priced merchandise appropriate for the current holiday or event. In addition to holidays, our events include the annual Sniagrab® ski sale, celebrity autograph sessions, events related to local sports teams, race sponsorships and registrations, vendor demonstrations and other activities that attract customers to our stores. We also sponsor tournaments and amateur competitive events in an effort to align our company with both the serious sports enthusiast and the recreational athlete. Our advertising and marketing program is administered by an in-house staff.

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Purchasing and Distribution

        Our Merchandise Purchasing Department manages all aspects of merchandise procurement and also determines initial pricing, develops product marketing plans and works with the allocation and replenishment groups to establish stock levels and product mix. The buying staff regularly communicates with store operations to monitor shifts in consumer tastes and market trends.

        Our Planning, Allocation, Replenishment and Merchandise Control Department is responsible for merchandise distribution, inventory control and the E-3 Replenishment Purchasing and Allocation System. This group acts as the central processing intermediary between the buying staff and our stores.

        The group also coordinates the inventory levels necessary for each advertising promotion with the buying staff and Advertising Department, tracking the effectiveness of certain ads to allow the buying staff and Advertising Department to determine the relative success of each promotional program. The group's other duties include implementation of price changes, creation of all merchandise purchase orders, and determination of the optimal inventory levels for each store.

        We purchase merchandise from over 1,000 vendors and have no long-term purchase commitments. During fiscal 2003, Nike, our largest vendor, represented approximately 13.0% of our purchases. No other vendor represented more than 10.0% of our purchases.

        We generally utilize a "hub and spoke" distribution system in which vendors ship directly to one of our regional distribution centers. We believe that this distribution system has the following advantages compared to direct store delivery (i.e., drop shipping): reduced individual store inventory investment; more timely replenishment of store inventory needs; better use of store floor space; reduced transportation costs and easier returns to vendors.

        We have six regional distribution centers in Colorado, California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, and New Jersey. In addition to the six regional distribution centers, we periodically lease warehouse space in markets where the regional distribution centers are located. These warehouses are used primarily to store back-stock quantities of large inventory items such as treadmills, weight sets and table-games. Inventory arriving at the distribution centers is allocated directly to the stores or to the warehouses. The E-3 automated reorder system regularly replenishes the stores by allocating merchandise to the distribution centers based on store sales.

        We operate tractor trailers for delivering merchandise from our Denver distribution center to our Colorado stores, and contract with common carriers to deliver merchandise to our stores outside a 150-mile radius from Denver. Common carriers are also used to deliver merchandise received at our other distribution centers.

Properties

        We currently lease a substantial majority of all of our store locations. We also operate six owned locations and own three closed locations, which were acquired in the TSA merger. Store leases typically provide for an initial term of 10-20 years, with multiple five-year renewal options. Most leases provide for the payment of minimum annual rent subject to periodic adjustments, plus other charges, including a proportionate share of real estate taxes, insurance and common area maintenance expenses. As current leases expire, we regularly evaluate whether to renew the leases or to strategically relocate stores to a better location. Leases for our stores expire at varying dates between 2004 and 2023, with 12 such leases expiring in fiscal 2004. Nine such stores are subject to leases with options to renew and three such stores will be relocated or the lease terms renegotiated. Leases for five of our stores have expired and are occupied on a month-to-month basis. We anticipate that all of our 2004 store openings will be completed under long-term operating leases.

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        We lease properties from partnerships or trusts, the partners and trust accounts of which are affiliated with Ms. Oshman, a former director, and her family members. Seven related leases are for a distribution center and Oshman's former corporate offices in Houston, Texas, which we lease from Oshman family trusts, including trusts for the benefit of Ms. Oshman. For fiscal 2003, rent expense under these leases was in the aggregate approximately $407,000.

        We also lease our six regional distribution centers. The lease for the 225,000 square foot distribution center in Denver, Colorado, expires in 2014, assuming all options are exercised. The lease for the 616,000 square foot distribution center in Fontana, California expires in 2014. The lease for the 260,000 square foot distribution center in Romeoville, Illinois expires in 2018, assuming all options are exercised. The leases for the 269,000 square foot distribution center in Houston, Texas will expire in 2006. The lease for the 290,000 square foot distribution center near McDonough, Georgia expires in 2010. The lease for the 416,000 square foot distribution center in Burlington, New Jersey expires in March 2013. In addition, we periodically lease warehouse space on a short term basis.

        Approximately 70% of our former corporate offices in Denver, Colorado have not yet been sub-leased and are being actively marketed. The lease for our new 200,000 square foot corporate office in Englewood, Colorado expires in 2027, assuming all options are exercised. We are seeking a termination of the lease on the former TSA corporate headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and the former Gart Sports corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

Associates

        At January 31, 2004, we employed approximately 17,000 individuals, 53% of whom were employed on a full-time basis and 47% of whom were employed on a part-time basis, or less than 32 hours per week. Due to the seasonal nature of our business, total employment fluctuates during the year. We consider our employee relations to be good. None of our associates are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Trademarks and Tradenames

        We use The Sports Authority®, Gart Sports®, Gart Sports Superstore®, Oshman's®, Sportmart®, Sniagrab®, Sportscastle®, SuperSports USA®, Alpine Design®, Head®, ProV2® trademarks and trade names, which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

        We also own and use numerous other trademarks and servicemarks which involve the manufacturing of soft goods, advertising slogans, promotional event names and store names used in our business. Many of these names are registered, or are the subject of pending applications, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other applicable offices around the world. Marks registered in the United States in the "Authority" family include "Authority," "The Sports Authority," "Sports Authority," "The Ski Authority," "Golf Authority," "Tennis Authority" and "Team Sports Authority," among others. Marks used in the "Play" family include "Get Out and Play" and "Come In and Play," among others. Marks used in our private label program include those listed under the caption "Merchandising." We vigorously protect our trademarks, service marks and trade name from infringement throughout the world by strategic registration and enforcement efforts.

Government Regulation

        We must comply with federal, state and local regulations, including the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which require us, as a federal firearms licensee, to perform a pre-sale background check of purchasers of hunting rifles. This background check is performed using either the FBI-managed National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS"), or a state government-managed system that relies on NICS and any additional information collected by the state. These background check systems either confirm that a sale can be made, deny the sale, or require that the

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sale be delayed for further review. We are also provided with a transaction number for the proposed sale, which we are required to record on Form 4473 of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and retain a copy for our records for 20 years for auditing purposes for each approved, denied or delayed sale. We complete the sale after all of these procedures are complete.

        In addition, many of our imported products are subject to existing or potential duties, tariffs or quotas that may limit the quantity of products that we may import into the U.S. and other countries or impact the cost of such products. To date, quotas in the operation of our business have not restricted us, and customs duties have not comprised a material portion of the total cost of our products.


ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings

        We are, from time to time, involved in various legal proceedings and claims arising in the ordinary course of business. We believe that the ultimate disposition of these matters will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

        In June 2000, a former employee of Sportmart brought two class action complaints in California against us, alleging various wage and hour claims in violation of the California Labor Code, California Business and Professional Code section 17200 and other related matters. One complaint alleges that we classified some of our managers in our California stores as exempt from overtime pay when they would have been classified as non-exempt and paid overtime. The second complaint alleges that we failed to pay hourly employees in its California stores for all hours worked. In March 2001, a third class action complaint was filed in the same court in California alleging the same wage and hour violations regarding classification of certain managers as exempt from overtime pay. In July 2001, a fourth complaint was filed alleging that store managers should also not be classified as employees exempt from overtime pay. All the complaints seek compensatory damages, punitive damages and penalties. The amount of damages sought is unspecified. We have entered into a settlement agreement relating to the first two complaints that were filed, which has received preliminary approval by the court. With the settlement of the first two complaints, the named plaintiffs in the third and fourth actions will be included in the settlement class although they may opt to proceed with their lawsuits on an individual basis. We recorded an estimated liability totaling $1.5 million, including attorney fees and expenses, in the year ended January 31, 2004.

        In June 2003, Financo, Inc., a financial advisory firm, filed a complaint against us in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleging that we owed Financo $2,000,000 for services provided to us in connection with the merger negotiations with TSA. No written contract existed between Financo and us. We reached a settlement with Financo and paid a total of $500,000, including attorney fees and expenses, during the year ended January 31, 2004.

        TSA Stores is one of thirty-three named defendants, including firearms manufacturers, distributors and retailers, in City of Chicago and County of Cook v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp. et al., Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. This suit was served on TSA Stores in November 1998. The original complaint was based on legal theories of public nuisance and negligent entrustment of firearms and alleged that the defendants created a public nuisance by distributing, marketing and selling firearms in the portion of Cook County outside Chicago knowing or recklessly disregarding that these guns would be illegally transferred and used in Chicago to commit crimes. The complaint sought damages allocated among the defendants exceeding $433 million to compensate the City of Chicago and Cook County for their alleged costs resulting from the alleged public nuisance. The complaint also sought punitive damages and injunctive relief imposing additional regulations on the methods the defendants use to distribute, market and sell firearms in Cook County. In February 2000, the Court dismissed the complaint's negligent entrustment count. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint with the Court's permission in March 2000, which contained both the public nuisance and negligent entrustment counts. In September 2000, the Court granted the motions of the defendants to dismiss the amended complaint,

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in its entirety, with prejudice. In October 2000, the plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their public nuisance claim to the Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District. On November 4, 2002, the Appellate Court reversed the dismissal of the public nuisance claim and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. On November 25, 2002, TSA Stores filed a petition for rehearing with the Appellate Court, which was denied on March 7, 2003. On March 27, 2003, TSA Stores joined in a petition by the other defendants for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court the Appellate Court's decision reversing the trial court's dismissal of the public nuisance claim, which was granted on April 8, 2003. The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments by the parties on September 10, 2003 and has yet to render a decision. We are currently unable to predict the outcome of this case.


ITEM 4. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

        No matters were put to a vote of security holders during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003.

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