Intersport International sells sneaker business The Athlete’s Foot
Intersport International is parting ways with The Athlete’s Foot. The brand, which specialises in retailing sneakers and was launched in the US in 1971 and acquired by Swiss-based business Intersport in 2012, has now joined Arklyz Group. All of The Athlete’s Foot’s trademarks and franchise agreements have been taken over by Arklyz Group. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed and it is expected to be finalised by the end of July.
Led by Param Singh, Arklyz Group, also based in Switzerland, owns the company Intersocks, which produces 25 million pairs of socks for over 150 clients around the world. The group is also the licensee for brands including Salomon and Head and holds wholesale distribution licenses for brands Hunter, Spenco, and Crocs, a brand which it also operates as a franchise with a network of around 30 stores.
The two parties in the deal were already partners. “That we have worked closely with Arklyz subsidiary Intersocks for many years has made the decision even easier, and it is our goal to further strengthen this relationship,” said Intersport International’s CEO Steve Evers in a press release. The objective of this sale is to “further strengthen its core business to focus on sports performance retail.”
Arklyz is now taking over a fleet of 564 The Athlete’s Foot stores in 32 countries, including five stores located in France, according to its website. However, according to daily news service Ouest France, which reported the closure of The Athlete’s Foot store in Cholet, France at the end of 2020, it was the business’ French stores which had borne the brunt of store closures. This was particularly due to the fact that Nike, which made up 45% of total sales in the Cholet store, decided to cease retailing through the group’s network.
The Athlete’s Foot has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis and saw its sales drop by 9% last year to around €330 million ($400 million). On the other hand, the brand has managed to regain momentum at the beginning of this year and has reported retail growth of 47% during the first five months of 2021 compared to the same time period a year ago. This also represents 14% growth compared to the same time period in 2019.
In 2020, Intersport International reported overall sales for all of its businesses combined (5,186 stores) totalling €10.6 billion, representing a 13.8% decreased compared to 2019. This represents a drop of 9% on a comparable basis.
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