Champs Sports is one of the largest mall-based specialty athletic footwear and apparel retailers in North America. Its product categories include athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, and a focused assortment of equipment. This combination allows Champs Sports to differentiate itself from other mall-based stores by presenting complete product assortments in a select number of sporting activities. Its 552 stores are located throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Champs Sports stores have an average of 3,500 selling square feet.
Champs Sports was created in the late 1980s by the F. W. Woolworth Company. It, along with Foot Locker, sold athletic merchandise, replacing the five and dime and department store concepts with the increasing specialty store concept. In 1997, the F. W. Woolworth Company acquired the mail-order catalog athletic retailer Eastbay for approximately 146 million dollars.
A few months later, on July 17, 1997, the F. W. Woolworth Company changed its name to Venator Group and closed their remaining department stores, while expanding the specialty store idea. In 2000, after a decline in the market of sports apparel, Venator Group shuttered many of their stores, including 27 Champs Sports locations. This proved successful as high-end footwear grew in popularity.