US sports giant Dick’s Sporting Goods executive chair Ed Stack has said people “don’t understand” the complexity of retail.

Speaking at Retail’s Big Show 2024, Stack said that constantly innovating and evolving is essential to keep up with the ever-changing retail industry and that people underestimate its complexity across several disciplines.

“Retail is always changing, it is never static. You have to constantly be innovating and one of the things I think people don’t understand about retail is the complexity of it across so many different disciplines,” he said.

“Whether it is from a merchandising standpoint to know what to buy, how the supply chain works, what you do from a marketing standpoint, and especially now that retail has become such a technologically driven business.

“The technology is so important and people in technology coming into retail to solve some pretty difficult problems have found retail to be a pretty challenging environment.”

Stack attributed the success of Dick’s Sporting Goods in comparison to other sports retail giants to remaining humble over the years.

He said: “One of the things we’ve always talked about, and why I think we’ve been successful where some others in the sports industry haven’t been, is we’ve never fallen in love with ourselves.

“We were constantly trying to innovate and change and the team that we have has been great at being able to do that.”

When asked about the opportunities and what lies ahead for the industry, Stack said it is “an exciting time to be in retail”.

“I think there is going to be some consolidation in what’s happening from a technology standpoint,” he added. “How the consumer shops or wants to be interacted with I think is changing and there is a huge opportunity for [retailers] who can carve out an image for themselves. 

“We talk about [Wall Street] and I also think it’s important that every business goes in their own direction and picks out their own lane because The Street doesn’t always get it right.”