April 26, 2005
Bass Pro Shops failed to meet city projections last year for its downtown Oklahoma City store, according to published sales figures that provide a rare glimpse into the company’s private records.
The outdoor retailer had $33.5 million in sales in 2004, or about $5 million short of a city consultant’s projections.
But Bass Pro Shops president Jim Hagale said the store faces the challenge of an urban redevelopment area, is smaller than the average store, does not have a restaurant and has higher sales per square foot than is projected in Mesa.
Mesa voters on May 17 will decide the fate of the Riverview at Dobson project and its estimated $80 million incentive package. If approved, the 250-acre project at Dobson Road and Loop 202 will include the state’s first Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
The figures from Oklahoma City showed a sharp drop in sales from $5.65 million in December 2003 — the store’s first full month of operation — to $4.84 million in December 2004. But the $3,78 million in sales produced last month was slightly higher than the $3.61 million from March 2004.
Hagale said the Oklahoma City store is about 100,000 square feet and nearing $340 in sales per square foot, higher than Ernst and Young’s projections for Mesa of $300 per square foot. The Mesa store is projected to be between 150,000 and 180,000 square feet and generate between $45 million and $54 million per year.
"We feel that (the Oklahoma City) store has tremendous upside potential as we go along with the redevelopment process," Hagale said.
But "No on Riverview" campaign spokesman Jason Rose called the figures "alarming."
"This dismal performance of this overhyped store show why these guys keep their books closed," Rose said.
The figures were first reported last week by The Journal Record, an Oklahoma City business publication, and confirmed by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, a cityfunded group that oversees downtown redevelopment.
"It’s unfortunate sales are down from what the consultant had projected, but what the city wanted with increased traffic . . . has proven 1,000 percent true," said JoeVan Bullard, executive director of the urban renewal authority.
Oklahoma City spent about $19 million to bring the Springfield, Mo.-based company to Bricktown, a historic warehouse district that also includes a minor league baseball stadium, a convention center and a canal. This was the closest store to Arizona until a Las Vegas store opened in November.