- Dick's Sporting Goods wants to grow its share in the outdoor market by acquiring retailer Moosejaw from Walmart.
- Moosejaw could help Dick's enhance its digital channels and develop new relationships with vendors.
- Walmart purchased Moosejaw in 2017 for $51 million.
Dick's Sporting Goods has agreed to buy outdoor retailer Moosejaw from Walmart in a bid to take share in the multibillion-dollar outdoor market.
The cost of the deal, which is expected to close in March, was not disclosed. Walmart purchased Moosejaw for $51 million in February 2017 under then-e-commerce President Marc Lore.
The acquisition, a rare move for Dick's, could help the retailer grow its presence in the outdoor market and develop its e-commerce footprint after its 2021 launch of Public Lands, which has a stronger brick-and-mortar focus.
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During the Covid pandemic, stuck-at-home Americans rushed to the great outdoors for hiking, boating, biking and other activities that were considered safer than dining in restaurants or traveling.
Research from Penn State, released last year, found there was a 20% increase in outdoor recreation in the U.S. during the pandemic, prompting the emergence of a new group of outdoor enthusiasts.
Dick's wants to turn those outdoor lovers into customers and sees huge opportunity in the market overall, which isn't crowded and is estimated to be worth about $40 billion.
While Moosejaw operates about a dozen brick-and-mortar locations in the Midwest and near the Great Lakes, it's primarily an e-commerce company that's been around since 1992.
The acquisition of Moosejaw is expected to help Dick's grow its e-commerce channels. Dick's will get access to the retailer's loyal customer base and vendor relationships.
"We admire what Moosejaw has accomplished over the past 30 years as leaders in the outdoor industry and look forward to the opportunity to share insights and learn from one another," said Todd Spaletto, the president of Public Lands and a senior vice president at Dick's.
"We believe there's potential to grow the Moosejaw business and provide compelling experiences and an expanded product assortment to its millions of loyal customers," he said.
Walmart scooped up Moosejaw in 2017 while it was attempting to grow its online presence under Lore, who founded Jet.com.
Moosejaw was just one of the digitally native brands the mega-retailer picked up under Lore's tenure and later sold, including Bare Necessities, Shoes.com and ModCloth. Lore left Walmart in 2021.
"Moosejaw joined the Walmart family to expand our assortment and expertise in the specialty outdoor category, and make Moosejaw accessible to more customers. Since acquiring Moosejaw, Walmart.com has grown from 70 million to hundreds of millions of items," a Walmart spokesperson told CNBC. "While Moosejaw operated as a standalone business, it was able to leverage Walmart's scale and customer reach to propel the Moosejaw Madness."
Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford will report to Spaletto once the deal closes. The company will continue to operate independently.
"Like Moosejaw, Dick's sees a huge opportunity to bring more people to the outdoors," Comerford said in a statement. "Together we will serve outdoor enthusiasts from beginners to experts across multiple channels and locations."
– CNBC's Melissa Repko contributed to this article.