Shoes.com has officially merged with CriticalPoint Capital LLC’s Running Specialty Group, a footwear and athletic platform that operates the JackRabbit, Olympia Sports and Clever Training labels.
In an announcement today, CriticalPoint Capital LLC, which completed its purchase of Shoes.com from Walmart in October, said that the Shoes.com integration brings RSG’s brick-and-mortar footprint to roughly 130 stores across the country.
“We are excited about the integration of Shoes.com into our family of specialty businesses as it further expands our product portfolio while providing customers greater access to top-tier brands through our full-service stores and powerful digital platform,” RSG CEO Bill Kirkendall said in a statement. “We are very enthusiastic for what the new combination entails, including increasing support and scale, enhancing our key capabilities and expanding distribution points across the nation, while providing an attractive future for everyone involved including our employees, customers and vendors.”
CPC first entered the shoe industry in early 2017 with the acquisition of JackRabbit, which entered the active lifestyle space later in the year through a joint venture with Rogue Running (then Rogue Training). The following year, the brand partnered with Clever Training, and in 2019, it welcomed the Olympia Sports brand.
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Shoes.com marks the private equity firm’s latest investment in the footwear sector.
“The integration of Shoes.com creates a truly unique multi-channel platform to house the best brands in footwear and to service today’s active lifestyle consumer,” added CPC partner Brad Holtmeier. “Together, the companies can capitalize on each of their brand’s market leadership, vendor relationships and operational, distribution and marketing capabilities to drive higher revenue growth and profitability than any of the companies could independently accomplish.”
In January 2017, Walmart snagged Boston-based online shoe retailer ShoeBuy from media and internet conglomerate InterActiveCorp for roughly $70 million. That same month, Canadian e-commerce shoe retailer Shoes.com announced that it had shuttered its operations, including its websites Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com and ShoeMe.ca, as well as its two brick-and-mortar locations in Vancouver and Toronto.
A few months later, Walmart paid $9 million for the Shoes.com domain — where customers who type in ShoeBuy.com would be redirected. (Shoes.com handled the footwear merchandising for all of the big-box retailer’s websites.) In a late-August statement about the decision to offload Shoes.com, Walmart global e-commerce senior director of public relations Ravi Jariwala explained that owning the site “enabled us to improve our customer experience, add robust content and substantially grow our assortment” in the footwear category.