Local ShoppingAcademy Sports and Outdoors names new chief merchandising officer

Academy Sports and Outdoors names new chief merchandising officer

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Academy Sports and Outdoors announced Thursday that Matt McCabe has been promoted to executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. McCabe was previously the company’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager for footwear. 

In his new role, McCabe will oversee merchandising, planning and allocation, visual merchandising, and private label product development and sourcing. His new position is effective on Sunday. McCabe will report to CEO Steve Lawrence, who took over that position in June after serving as Academy’s chief merchandising officer. 

“Under Steve’s leadership, we established a clear market position with strong and localized assortments, value-based differentiation, and refined our merchandising strategies and processes, and I am confident that we can continue to accelerate our growth and take market share in key categories as we help customers have fun out there,” McCabe said in a statement.

A portrait photo of Academy Sports + Outdoors chief merchant Matt McCabe

Matt McCabe takes over the chief merchant position from Steve Lawrence, who recently became CEO.

Permission granted by Academy Sports + Outdoors


Lawrence said McCabe was instrumental in growing the company’s footwear category, overseeing the addition of new brands like Hey Dude and Birkenstock, along with improving the online and in-store shopping experience.

“The combination of his broad industry experience coupled with his knowledge of Academy should make his transition to chief merchandising officer seamless,” Lawrence said in the announcement. “I’m excited to partner with Matt and the entire merchant organization as we continue to deliver on our mission to provide fun for all by strengthening our merchandising through meaningful assortment, powerful brands, and compelling value.”

Several key leaders at Academy Sports and Outdoors are relatively new in their positions. In April, Lawrence was named as Ken Hicks’ replacement as CEO, and Hicks became executive chairman of the company’s board of directors. At that time, Michael Mullican simultaneously began serving as president in addition to his position as chief financial officer. Mullican will remain CFO until a new person is named to that role.

Hicks had served as CEO since 2018. During his tenure, the company opened 28 new stores and grew net sales to $6.4 billion in 2022 from $4.8 billion in 2018. 

Academy Sports and Outdoors also announced this week that it plans to open its first two stores in the Indianapolis area, in Westfield-Carmel and Avon. The company’s 75,000-square-foot Westfield-Carmel store will be the company’s fifth in Indiana and the approximately 60,000-square-foot Avon store will be its sixth in the state.

The company opened a new location in Lafayette, Indiana, earlier this year. Academy Sports and Outdoors said it has also signed a multi-year deal to serve as a partner of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Under the partnership, the retailer will collaborate with the Colts on community events, social media and digital content.

Academy Sports and Outdoors plans to continue its store expansion efforts. The company wants to open up to 15 stores this year with a goal of opening 120 to 140 new stores by the end of 2027. Founded in Texas in 1938, the company said it has 269 stores in 18 states.

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