The Dodgers’ new era could soon be arriving at a store near you.
For the first time, the Dodgers are planning to open retail stores outside of Dodger Stadium, and a sophisticated inventory-tracking system is being installed at the stadium’s retail store and souvenir stands.
Team officials insist these improvements had been planned before Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Group purchased the team. But even on a limited scale, the steps are indicative of how Fox executives intend to expand the Dodgers’ marketing potential, both here and overseas.
Michael Nygren, director of merchandising for the Dodgers, declined to reveal when and where the shops are planned to open, nor how many will eventually appear. But he said the organization is “very close to signing” a deal for a Dodgers retail store in Los Angeles.
Nygren said the Dodgers have discussed opening such stores for eight or 10 years. “It’s really just a matter of timing, we’re taking advantage of the great economy,” Nygren said. “Baseball merchandise is having a strong resurgence.”
Meanwhile, Retail Technologies International, a developer of point-of-sale stations for small to medium-sized retailers, is setting up a new inventory system at the stadium store and 16 souvenir stands. It is scheduled for completion by early July, said Jim Meisler, a company spokesman.
With a point-of-sales tracking system, a business can keep daily tabs of which products are selling and which are not. For retailers, it’s a key tool in preventing a loss of revenues due to overstocking, or worse, under-stocking certain merchandise.
The gift shop, which is open seven days a week, carries more than 800 products, ranging from standard sports memorabilia like baseball caps and T-shirts, to more expensive items like a letterman’s jacket for $195 and a vintage leather jacket priced at $300.
Fox is expected to take further steps to expand the Dodgers “brand” internationally. The Dodgers were among the first Major League teams to sign foreign players, host foreign teams and play exhibition games abroad.
In the past several years, said Nygren, there has been an increase in foreign demand for Dodgers’ memorabilia. Japanese players Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park have attracted a large number of foreign fans.
“We get eight to nine tour buses of Japanese (tourists) Sunday to Sunday,” said Nygren. Wiesler at Retail Technologies, who also provides inventory-tracking systems for other professional sports teams, including the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, said Dodgers memorabilia is among the top sellers.