Despite recession, Bass Pro not looking to go smaller, CEO says

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — New Bass Pro Shops store openings slowed to two this year, down from eight in 2008, but CEO Johnny Morris said the company isn’t starting to think smaller, according to a recent USA Today profile. While competitor Cabela’s is planning smaller stores to raise profitability, Morris says, “If anything, we’re making stores better.”

Retail analyst David Magee said Wal-Mart’s successful expansion into fishing supplies has likely hit Bass harder than competitor Cabela’s, and it has laid off workers at stores, its boat-building plants and its headquarters. Magee said both Bass and Cabela’s are benefiting from brisk firearms sales but hampered because hunting and fishing aren’t growth categories. And both face growing competition from sporting goods stores capturing more of the market.

However, tough economic times haven’t dampened Morris’ enthusiasm for the products he sells.

“Buy a boat, get a return in the happiness it brings,” Morris said in the article. “You’ve got to sell the fun of things, too.”

To read the complete profile, click here.

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