DTLR & Villa Merge to Create Urban Sneaker Retail Powerhouse

DTLR
A DTLR store
FN Archives

The summer of the shoe deal is living up to its reputation.

The latest evidence: Street-inspired fashion-and-footwear seller DTLR Inc. is merging with urban lifestyle retailer Sneaker Villa Inc. to form a new combined entity that the companies hope will have the “strength of a national retailer.”

The merged firm will comprise nearly 240 stores — 110 pre-existing DTLR outposts and 120 Villa doors — in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

“This merger will allow us to better serve our customers, employees and vendor partners” said DTLR CEO Glenn Gaynor. “The combination will allow us to enhance the consumer experience by leveraging the best practices of both Villa and DTLR. By combining our talent and resources, we can accelerate growth and expand our reach.”

Both DTLR, based in the Baltimore area, and Villa, headquartered in Philadelphia, are known for their community-centric cultures, and the companies said they plan to continue to serve local customers and neighborhoods post-merger.

“Employees of the combined organization will benefit from the sharing of best practices and a stronger company focused on accelerating growth,” the firms said in a release.

The merging of two well-known, local urban sneaker stores comes at a time when consolidation is happening rapidly across retail — a phenomenon undoubtedly led by retail titans Amazon and Walmart.

On one side of the industry, smaller companies — think Steve Madden buying Schwartz & Benjamin, and Marc Fisher snapping up Easy Spirit — are seeking lifelines in larger firms in a bid to navigate a retail climate made tumultuous by consumer shifts to digital.

At the same time, larger firms such as Walmart, Amazon and QVC — which bought competitor HSN in July — are seeking out megapartnerships that dramatically boost their their size and influence with the stroke of pen.

And luxury players — Coach bought Kate Spade in May, and Michael Kors procured Jimmy Choo only months later, in July — are also getting in on the action. Some experts say the heightened M&A activity could portend a new kind of luxury landscape made up of a few larger fashion houses as opposed to individual brands that may no longer have the wherewithal to survive on their own.