Catch all the latest news about footwear industry acquisitions, and licensing and distribution agreements here. Got a deal in the works? Tell us at email@example.com.
Oct. 3, 2022: Rocky Brands, Inc. announced on Monday that it has sold its Neos Overshoe brand to SureWerx, a global manufacturer of safety, tool & equipment products. Rocky Brands acquired Neos Overshoe in March 2021 when it purchased the performance and lifestyle footwear business from Honeywell. Neos Overshoe has been designing and manufacturing premium overshoes built to protect workers and consumers alike from the elements since 1993. Terms were not disclosed.
Sept. 23, 2022: New York-based footwear brand Ground Up has announced a new licensing deal with BBC Studios to create footwear inspired by Ludo Studio’s Emmy Award-winning animated series “Bluey.” The collection of toddler footwear will launch in 2023. Ground Up said it plans to take an elevated approach to the collection and craft designs featuring Bluey and other beloved characters such as Bingo, Bandit and Chilli. The line will consist of a wide selection of shoe styles, including slip-on sneakers, laced low- and high-tops, seasonal boots, slides, slippers and athletic sneakers. Ground Up also has character licensing partnerships with Nickelodeon, Disney, Warner Bros., Universal and more.
Sept. 12, 2022: Vince Holding Corp. announced on Monday that it plans to exit its Rebecca Taylor business. The New York-based fashion company said it made the strategic decision to “focus its resources” on the Vince brand. The company said it is in discussions with its lenders to finalize the wind down plan, which is expected to include selling off its assets and exiting its various business channels. “Given the increased headwinds from the range of macroeconomic and pandemic related issues in the industry that Rebecca Taylor in particular has faced over the past two years, we have made the difficult decision to exit our Rebecca Taylor business,” Jack Schwefel, CEO of Vince Holding Corp., said in a statement. “The closure of Rebecca Taylor will allow the company to focus on Vince’s core businesses and our overall financial foundation for the long-term.” This news comes as the company reported a net sales increase of 13.4% to $89.2 million as compared to $78.7 million in the same period last year reflecting a 20.5% increase in Vince brand sales and a 27.9% decrease in Rebecca Taylor and Parker sales, combined.
Sept. 12, 2022: JCPenney has launched Frye and Co., a western American collection of footwear, apparel and handbags, that draws its inspiration from the original Frye brand. “We’re pleased to bring the exclusive Frye and Co. collection to our customers and offer the timeless, iconic style that Frye is known for,” Michelle Wlazlo, EVP and chief merchandise officer at JCPenney, said in a statement. “JCPenney strives to celebrate and serve America’s diverse, working families by providing accessible style for everyone and we’re excited to partner with a brand whose history and values align with our own.” Boots are available in women’s sizes 6 – 11 and men’s sizes 7 – 13. The assortment also includes sherpa jackets, boho midi dresses, fair isle sweaters, shirting, pants and more available in sizes XS – 3X and men’s big & tall. Additionally, cold-weather pieces, home & tech accessories will hit shelves in late fall 2022, just in time for the holidays. JCPenney customers can now shop Frye & Co. footwear and accessories in 300 stores and apparel in 150 stores across the country. The full Frye & Co. assortment is available on jcp.com.
Sept. 8, 2022: Oofos has teamed up with the Las Vegas Raiders to become the team’s official recovery footwear. The brand said via statement that it will partner with the franchise to support it through the demanding football season. As part of the sponsorship, Oofos said it will supply footwear for the organization to help promote recovery, and its footwear will be sold in select Raider Image retail locations. Also, there will be an integrated media and marketing campaign to “educate consumers and fans about the benefits” of the footwear, which includes on-site experiential activations at select events. The partnership with the Raiders is an organic one, as players from the team — including star quarterback Derek Carr — have worn Oofos as a recovery tool. Although this deal is new, Oofos is not foreign to the world of pro sports. Its ambassador roster features names including basketball legend Dawn Staley, retired NFL quarterback Alex Smith and others.
Aug. 31, 2022: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is expanding its partnership with longtime Reebok partner Warson Brands. Under the terms of the new agreement, Warson will design, develop and distribute premium occupational footwear for the Frye and Volcom brands in the U.S. and Canada. The Frye Company will launch Frye Supply, a new occupational footwear line that embodies the “heritage, quality, and craftsmanship” of Frye boots, ABG said. Volcom’s skate-inspired work shoes will offer on-trend styles for a “new generation of workers who are inspired by board lifestyle and action sports.” Warson said it will incorporate the specifications required to meet the ASTM 2413 safety standards for occupational footwear. The footwear will be fitted with protective steel or composite toe caps. For high tech industries, several styles will be constructed with electro-static dissipating properties. All styles will feature slip resisting outsoles. Both the new Frye and Volcom work footwear collections, which will retail between $90 to $160, will be available at select workwear and specialty accounts in spring 2023.
Aug. 30, 2022: Fanatics has expanded its relationship with Team USA with a new licensing agreement. The digital sports and merchandising platform, which has worked with Team USA since 2009, has inked a new deal with LA28 and Team USA for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. The agreement will bring an expansive assortment of LA28 and Team USA Olympic and Paralympic licensed merchandise to fans, including apparel, hard goods, memorabilia, collectibles and real-time, on-demand products. Additionally, Fanatics will operate in-venue retail in and around the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will continue to power LA28 and Team USA’s online retail platforms. A key aspect of the agreement is creating physical retail spaces with Fanatics operating the suite of on-site shopping locations within the LA28 Games footprint, as well as other locations throughout Los Angeles. The significant undertaking will work across many Games venues and stadiums with multiple touchpoints and experiences at each. What’s more, Fanatics will also outfit the tens of thousands of volunteers at the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Aug. 30, 2022: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is expanding its relationship with NYC Alliance, which currently holds the exclusive license for Juicy Couture apparel, including the iconic velour tracksuit, in the U.S. and Canada. In this extended agreement, NYC Alliance will also design, produce and distribute men’s and women’s sportswear for Frye and Tretorn. The products will be available at a wide range of department stores, specialty retailers, and online across the U.S. and Canada in spring 2023. “Frye and Tretorn are beloved brands that resonate strongly with their respective target consumers,” noted Christina Martin Pieper, SVP of Brand, Lifestyle at ABG. “Through this partnership with NYC Alliance, we are able to build upon Frye and Tretorn’s expansive lifestyle offerings and offer uniquely designed product for a growing segment of the brands’ businesses.”
Aug. 25, 2022: Tradeblock has raised over $8.9 Million dollars in new funding from investment partners Courtside VC, Trinity Ventures, and Concrete Rose Capital. The barter-based sneaker platform said in a statement that it will use the proceeds from the financing round to help further invest in growth in its sneaker business as well as expanding and improving its one-of-a-kind authentication and logistics operation, which involves inspecting and authenticating shoes from both sides of the trade simultaneously in a complex and highly-interconnected process. Additionally, Tradeblock will be investing in more data science capabilities to enhance the customer experience as it continues to define the virtual bartering experience by developing the marketplace further.The marketplace is set for a rolling close to end their Seed II round and is expecting an additional $4.5 million in investment by the end of it.
Aug. 22, 2022: Lyle & Scott will launch footwear through a new licensing agreement with Unlimited Footwear Group (UFG). With this partnership, UFG will design, produce and distribute all upcoming branded Lyle & Scott footwear collections throughout the entire European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the U.S. The first collection of men’s, women’s and kids Lyle & Scott footwear will debut for the spring/summer 2023 seasons. UFG’s The Heritage Footwear Company division in Utrecht will manage the Lyle & Scott footwear collections. The Heritage Footwear Company plans to launch two collections a year at a mid-price level and will distribute Lyle & Scott footwear through its extensive international sales network. Ben Gunn, brand director at Lyle & Scott, said in a statement: “Our partnership with UFG is a huge step forward for our brand, within footwear but also more generally. Our customer is passionate, be that about football, golf or the clothes they wear. Over the last 30 years, UFG has developed a truly global audience, working with some amazing brands in the footwear industry and we are hugely proud to have them as our partners.”
Aug. 17, 2022: Popular children’s brand Stride Rite is now available at Kids Foot Locker. Starting today, a collection of athletic sneakers including lighted styles, ranging in price from $52 – $64, are now available on online at kidsfootlocker.com and in 50 select Kids Foot Locker doors across the U.S. States include California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Texas and an additional fifteen states. Available sizes range from infant size 3 up to kids size 3 for boys and girls. “As a retailer that strives to provide a diverse assortment for our youngest customers, Kids Foot Locker is excited to now have Stride Rite footwear options in our stores starting this back to school season,” Holly Tedesco, VP of Marketing at Foot Locker, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to continue providing kids with options to confidently start the school year off in style and comfort.”
Aug. 16, 2022: French luxury menswear brand Berluti is expanding its digital footprint in China by launching on Alibaba Group’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion. During the hard launch, Berluti will offer Tmall shoppers exclusive access to its global debut of Playoff sneakers. “As a crucial step in the brand’s business expansion and digitalization process, we have high hopes for this strategic cooperation with Tmall,” Laurent Barrere, managing director of Berluti in China & Asia Pacific, said in a statement. Part of the LVMH Group, Berluti has been steadily expanding in China, which is on pace to be the world’s largest luxury market by 2025. “Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform has a large number of high-net-worth consumers, as well as young people with a high degree of digitalization,” added Janet Wang, general manager of Tmall Luxury Pavilion.
Aug. 8, 2022: Vista Outdoor Inc. announced today that it has closed its acquisition of Fox Racing, paying a gross purchase price of $540 million, subject to customary closing adjustments. Also, the Vista stated there is potential for an additional $50 million earnout based on the motocross brand’s financial performance. (For calendar year 2022, Vista stated Fox Racing’s full-year net sales and adjusted EBITDA are expected to be approximately $350 million and $55 million, respectively.) The acquisition was financed, Vista said, through a combination of a $600 million asset-based revolving credit facility, which will replace its existing asset-based revolving credit facility, and a $350 million secured term loan facility. Fox Racing CEO Jeffrey McGuane, as well as its current leadership team, will continue to lead the brand. The brand will be added to Vista’s Outdoor Products segment, and will be included in the new Outdoor Products company upon completion of the separation. (Vista announced in May that it will separate its Outdoor Products and Sporting Products segments into two independent, publicly-traded companies.)
July 27, 2022: Mytheresa is expanding its partnership with Vestiaire Collective into the U.S. market. The partnership, which launched a unique resale service for Mytheresa’s high-end luxury customers in June 2021, has already had big success in Europe and is helping drive the fashion industry towards more sustainable practices. The U.S. expansion of the resale program is offering the service to Mytheresa’s top customers in the region, thus increasing the desirable U.S. supply available for Vestiaire Collective members to shop. How it works: Mytheresa’s top customers in the U.S. are invited to participate via a dedicated landing page, where they enter required information, and are given a price quote for their pre-loved item. Once the item arrives at Vestiaire Collective’s U.S. authentication center, and has undergone quality and authentication checks, the Mytheresa customer receives immediate payment in the form of a Mytheresa store credit. A dedicated Mytheresa x Vestiaire Collective team is also available to support customers throughout their listing journey.
July 27, 2022: Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) has opened up a new Global Capabilities Center in Bangalore, India. This center is meant to house the company’s technical talent to help curate customer experiences. The center will hire more than 500 people in the next 8-10 months across technology, advanced data analytics and other business roles. “The company is investing more than $500 million to drive sustainable growth through digital commerce to deepen relationships with our customers in order to make their lives extraordinary,” said Bob Kupbens, chief product and technology officer at NMG.
July 14, 2022: French Connection has inked a new footwear licensing agreement with Sante + Wade. The footwear label will work with French Connection to develop, manufacture, and market its range of women’s shoes with the UK and Europe for the next three years. The first collection will hit stores in spring/summer 2023 and will retail between £80 and £120. “Licensing is an integral part of our business at French Connection,” Amber Fenner, licensing manager at French Connection, said in a statement. To partner with an industry innovator whose ethos and quality align with ours is invaluable to bringing the consumer the best possible product at key price points.” Agnès Cushnie, marketing director for Sante + Wade, added: “Our philosophy is that everyone should have the opportunity to experience beautiful and comfortable shoes, whatever their size. We are delighted to partner with such a prestigious brand with a resounding success in the contemporary market.”
July 12, 2022: New York-based footwear company Josmo Shoe Corp. has signed a licensing deal with MerryMakers Inc. to produce “Pete the Cat” toddler and kids’ shoes. The first collection will deliver in Q1 2023. “The latest designs are bright, innovative and capture what the Pete the Cat stands for: creativity, independence, openness, adventure and grooviness,” said Sammy Esquenazi, owner of Josmo. Pete the Cat is a fictional cartoon cat that was created by American artist James Dean, who launched a four-book series in 2010. The franchise has since grown to a 50-title children’s publishing line from HarperCollins. MerryMakers, which owns the brand, has other licensing agreements for Pete the Cat apparel, bedding, toys and games.
July 11, 2022: Aerosoles has inked a new licensing agreement with Orly Corporation for the distribution of men’s slippers, men’s and ladies flip flops, hanging footwear, men’s socks, and roller skates for men, women and youth. The first collections are scheduled to be launched in summer 2023 and will be available at Nordstrom, Macy’s and other major department and specialty stores to follow. Retail price points for men’s and ladies flip flops, socks and slippers will range from $20 to $50 and roller skates will range from $80 to $150. “This is an exciting time for Aerosoles and we are thrilled to be working with one of the best-in-class companies to further provide a comprehensive product offering to our consumers,” said Alen Mamrout, president and CEO of American Exchange Group, which acquired Aerosoles in January for an undisclosed sum. “As a global lifestyle brand, we are committed to showcasing a cohesive retail presentation, with a wide variety of products for men, women and youth. This is the first licensing partner we have signed since the acquisition and we look forward to partnering with Orly to utilize their expertise, capabilities and expand our consumer base.”
July 8, 2022: Tom Ford is reportedly up for sale, according to Bloomberg. The media outlet said on Thursday that the luxury fashion brand is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the effort. According to Bloomberg, a deal could value the company at several billion dollars and may include an option that would give any new owner of Tom Ford the right to work with its founder after the sale. No final decision has been made and Tom Ford could still opt to remain independent. Ford, an Austin, Texas native started his namesake company in 2005, a year after leaving Gucci, which he revitalized during a decade-long stint as creative director.
July 7, 2022: Gap is coming to India. The San Francisco-based company has inked a new partnership agreement with Reliance Retail Limited, India’s largest retailer, to bring the Gap brand to the country. Through the long-term franchise agreement, Reliance Retail has become the official retailer for Gap across all channels in India. Reliance Retail will introduce Gap through a mix of exclusive brand stores, multi-brand store expressions and digital commerce platforms. “We look forward to growing the Gap business across key international markets,” Adrienne Gernand, managing director of international, global licensing and wholesale at Gap Inc., said in a statement. “Partnering with regional experts, like Reliance Retail in India, allows us to deliver our relevant, purpose-driven brand to customers around the globe, while continuing to diversify our business portfolio through our partner-based model.”
July 1, 2022: Wolverine Worldwide has settled a lawsuit with HanesBrands. Under the agreement, Wolverine will sell its Champion trademarks for footwear to HanesBrands for $90 million. However, Wolverine will still be able to use the Champion trademark on specific shoes such as the Keds Champion.
June 30, 2022: Third-generation independent shoe retailer Stan’s Fit for Your Feet has added another store to its roster. The business, which has locations in Brookfield, Glendale and Greenfield, Wis., has purchased Waxberg’s Walk Shoppe in Niles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Waxberg’s — also a third-generation retailer founded in 1919 — will continue to operate under its own name, according to Jim Sajdak, president of Stan’s Fit for Your Feet. “We can appreciate the importance of the Waxberg’s brand name in the community, since they’ve established a wonderful heritage over the past 100 years,” he said. “We are also really proud to have their team joining our family in an effort to continue Waxberg’s legacy.” This marks the Sadjak family’s first foray outside the Greater Milwaukee area. In addition to three Stan’s Fit for Your Feet locations, they also operate two New Balance stores and a Vionic branded shop.
June 22, 2022: Autumn Adeigbo found new investors in Hollywood stars Cameron Diaz, Mila Kunis and Gabrielle Union. In 2020, Adeigbo, then a one-woman show, secured $1.3 million of institutional investments. She made headlines as the first eponymous fashion brand led by a female, Black designer to raise more than $1 million in venture capital funding. Then, in September 2021, she secured additional funds of nearly $3 million, led by venture capital firm Offline Ventures, bringing her total investments to more than $4 million. “Personally, it means so much for these women who I have so much respect for, to believe in me,” Adeigbo told FN. “Business-wise, it means the world to us that our brand has incredible support from women who have excelled in their individual illustrious careers in Hollywood, and are also passionate about entrepreneurship.”
June 22, 2022: eBay Inc. has acquired non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace KnownOrigin. The acquisition, according to eBay, is important in its tech-led reimagination, and will help usher in “a new era of digital collecting to the world’s top destination for collectibles.” KnownOrigin, which was founded in 2018, enables people to create, buy and resell NFTs via blockchain-support transactions. eBay began allowing the buying and selling of NFTs in May 2021. The companies signed and closed the deal today, and the details of the deal were not disclosed.
June 15, 2022: Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR), which supports underrepresented Black and Latinx designers, has announced a new partnership with LVMH North America to work on improving diversity in fashion. As part of the partnership, the fashion house has committed to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion via different summits and retreats in connection with HFR. “Through this partnership, HFR and LVMH North America look forward to continuing their mission of giving designers of color access to individuals and organizations that can help shape their future” said Brandice Daniel, CEO and founder of HFR.
June 13, 2022: Europe-based online fashion and lifestyle platform Zalando has acquired a majority stake in Highsnobiety. According to a statement, Highsnobiety will act as a strategic and creative consultant to help Zalando develop inspiration-focused spaces and formats, and the Zalando Group will allow for Highsnobiety to leverage its resources to fuel its e-commerce capabilities. Highsnobiety, according to the statement, will retain its editorial autonomy and will continue to be led by managing directors David Fischer and Jürgen Hopfgartner. Also, Highsnobiety founder David Fischer will retain a minority stake in the business. Both Zalando and Highsnobiety agreed not to disclose financial details of the deal.
June 9, 2022: Apple Original Films, Nike’s Waffle Iron Entertainment and production company Makeready have inked a deal to produce films related to athletes and sports, Deadline reported. Apple will oversee financing and distribution while Nike’s Justin Biskin and Makeready’s Brad Weston and Collin Creighton will produce the films, which will center on themes regarding the power of sport.
June 8, 2022: Puma has entered into a licensing agreement with United Legwear & Apparel Co. LLC (ULAC) to produce, market, sell and distribute Puma Swimwear in North America. Under the agreement ULAC will launch Puma’s swimwear line in Q1 of 2023 in stores across the U.S. and Canada. “As a company, we strive to be at the forefront of performance, innovation and style,” said Bob Philion, president and CEO of Puma North America. “Partnering with ULAC for this strategic growth initiative in North America will allow us to expand our offerings to our customers while staying true to our core values and focus as a brand.”
June 8, 2022: K-Way has inked a new deal with Bluebell Group to enter the Hong Kong market. Following the brand’s in-market digital launch in June, the new mono-brand physical store opening is planned for October 2022 at Pacific Place under the Swire Group, one of Hong Kong’s most premium shopping malls. K-Way will be introduced to Hong Kong consumers first through its online K-way.com.hk and a planned physical store in October. Targeting the active young local audience, offering a mix of technical meets fashion apparel, the brand’s footprint is expected to grow further in Hong Kong and into mainland China later this year. “We have no doubt K-Way will become an anchor brand for us in Hong Kong, where retail today is geared solely on local consumption,” Samy Redjeb, Bluebell Group managing director for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, said in a statement. “The brand offers a desirable and accessible lifestyle unisex fashion and kids wear, which is one of our core focus for the development of this market.”
June 6, 2022: Oofos is now the official recovery footwear of the Cape Cod Baseball League, an amateur baseball league based in Massachusetts. The partnership, according to Oofos, will allow the brand “to support the country’s top players as they compete and prepare for their careers at the next level in the Major Leagues.” Breaking down the sponsorship further, Oofos said it will provide a pair of active recovery footwear to all players in the league “to help promote recovery and enhance performance throughout the summer season,” Also, Oofos said it will be on-site at the Cape League All-Star game in July and will sponsor the Cape Cod Baseball League Awards at the end of the season.
June 3, 2022: After launching her womenswear label 19 years ago, Nili Lotan is making her entrance into menswear for pre-fall 2022, a natural progression for the designer who originally comes from a menswear design aesthetic. Lotan’s inaugural offering will include a range of classic shirting, pants, jackets, and occasionwear ranging in price from $185 for cotton jersey tees to $2,195 for a leather jacket. The collection will be available in July on NiliLotan.com and in Nili Lotan’s retail stores in East Hampton, Tribeca, Madison Avenue and Palm Beach. The collection will also be available at select retailers including Mr Porter, Matches Fashion, SSENSE, Saks, and Shopbop. Bergdorf Goodman and TNT will carry the men’s collection starting with fall in September.
May 25, 2022: Unlimited Footwear Group (UFG) has inked a new strategic licensing partnership with Paul Frank to design, produce, market, and distribute Paul Frank branded footwear in 50 countries including the entire European Union, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Scandinavia. UFG said in a statement on Wednesday that the collections will embody Paul Frank’s youthful, fresh, fun, and accessible approach with a spark of humor, pleasant sarcasm, and everyday cleverness. The Heritage Footwear Company, part of UFG, will manage the footwear collections for Paul Frank. The Heritage Footwear Company plans to launch two collections a year at a mid-price level and will distribute through its international sales network of both multi-brand fashion and sports retail and through wholesale and various online platforms. The first Paul Frank footwear collection for men, women, and kids is scheduled to launch in spring/summer 2023.
May 16, 2022: Resale technology platform Recurate has secured $14 million in new Series A funding. This funding round was led by Jump Capital, and includes industry leaders Gradient Ventures, XRC Labs, Victress Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, and AngelList Early-Stage Quant Fund, as well as executives from Brooks Brothers, Chubbies, and Klaviyo, among others. The new investment brings Recurate’s total funding to over $17.5 million. According to Recurate, the company will use the funding to power a new suite of services and integrations including image-based product recognition, advanced merchandising, and robust data analytics. Founded in 2020, Recurate now currently works with over 40 brands in the fashion, accessories, outdoor, and footwear categories including Steve Madden (Re-Booted), Frye (The Frye Exchange) and Mara Hoffman (Full Circle Marketplace) and expects this number to grow to over 100 brand partners by the end of the year.
May 13, 2022: Saks Fifth Avenue will start selling injectables this month as it expands its beauty offerings. The high-end department store will add an array of injectables, including Botox, dermal fillers and AquaGold, to its Manhattan flagship location on May 19 via a partnership with Skinney Medspa. The luxury spa currently operates a location inside Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
May 12, 2022: Justin Bieber and Ryan Good’s Drew House label has launched its first wholesale partnership with Ssense, in store and online on May 12. This long-term partnership marks the first time drew house has teamed up with a global platform to expand its distribution. The full range of over 125 gender-neutral clothing and accessories for adults, kids, and pets will be available alongside new silhouettes and accessories. The May 12 drop will be followed with a second release in June. Prices range from $50 USD to $425.
May 9, 2022: Brand management company Iconix International Inc. has completed the acquisition of the global rights across all product categories to the Pony brand (excluding China and Taiwan), from Hong Kong-based company Symphony Holdings Ltd. Financial Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Iconix said that it will “maximize the value of Pony by uniting the global Pony brand rights under one roof.” The global brand will be run from Iconix’s New York City office. In Asia Pacific, the Pony brand will be managed as a joint venture with Symphony. The timing of the acquisition coincides with a big moment for the heritage athletic brand, as 2022 marks Pony’s 50th anniversary. Bob Galvin, CEO of Iconix, commented: “Sports remains a key focal point of our portfolio and Pony, with its strong brand recognition and rich heritage in both sport and fashion has significant potential for global growth. We look forward to evolving the brand to introduce it to a new generation, while also connecting with consumers that already value its heritage.”
May 2, 2022: Endur Apparel has closed a new investment round as well as renamed itself. The performance sock brand is now operating under its new brand name Outway. According to the brand, the new positioning will be fueled by a $3.2 million investment led by Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny. The company said its decision to rebrand was a “result of external circumstances where the best path forward was to evolve.” Outway added that following its rebrand, the company’s team, logo, and products will remain the same. “This rebrand is our butterfly moment,” founder Rob Fraser said in a statement. “Over the past five years we’ve grown and evolved, and although today we look a little different, our essence remains. We’re now able to spread our wings to take our brand to all-new heights, powered by the same team, products, and community.”
April 28, 2022: Centric Brands has finalized a new strategic acquisition of the hosiery division of Daytona Apparel Group, a portfolio of retail brands owned by Windsong Brands. Centric will take full ownership of Daytona Apparel Group’s hosiery division, which sells product across multiple brands in stores nationwide. Daytona Apparel will continue to independently operate its other categories. The acquisition will be merged into Centric’s growing accessories division led by Jarrod Kahn, group president of accessories. As part of the transaction, Centric will assume new license agreements including Stanley, Free Country, Real Tree, and Umbro. In addition, a number of associates from the hosiery team at Daytona will join Centric and report to Abe Dweck, EVP of accessories.
April 26, 2022: The Aldo Group announced on Tuesday that its North American creditors have voted in favor of its restructuring plan, almost two years after the global footwear and accessories company filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The vote marks a milestone on the company’s journey to exit its restructuring, first initiated in 2020. According to Aldo, in the next few weeks, there will be some additional legal and administrative steps left to take, including the finalization and approval of the Composition Agreement in Switzerland, before the Aldo Group can emerge from its restructuring proceedings completely.
April 19, 2022: Authentic Brands Group has announced that LF Corp. will be its strategic partner to distribute and sell the Reebok brand in South Korea. Via the deal, LF Corp. will have exclusive rights to distribute Reebok clothes and footwear via wholesale, e-commerce and Reebok retail stores in South Korea. “Reebok has a celebrated heritage, and we are excited to bring those elements to our consumers in an authentic and meaningful way,” said Soung Kim, GM and head of Reebok division at LF. “With more than 40 years of experience in the fashion industry, we are poised to expand Reebok’s presence across the region.”
April 18, 2022: OluKai, which is best known for its flip flop sandals, has launched its first sports performance line with the introduction of a range of men’s and women’s golf shoes. The Hawaiian-inspired footwear company’s new golf line includes four different performance shoes made for golf, two for him and two for her. According to OluKai, each style was created with the Wet Sand Principle, a comfort design philosophy that your shoes should mimic the feeling of walking in wet stand. Each shoe features removable/washable dual density polyurethane footbeds as well as wet-grip rubber spikeless outsoles with multidirectional traction. The four golf styles also feature the brand’s signature Drop-In Heel designed for easy on/off functionality. The collection, which retails between $150 and $160, is now available at Olukai.com.
April 14, 2022: The NBA and Foot Locker Europe today announced a multiyear expansion to their partnership. Via the deal, both entities will refurbish basketball courts in Paris and Rotterdam and host fan events and basketball clinics across Europe. Foot Locker will also partner with the NBA for its 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Barcelona and London this summer. “As part of our commitment to inspire and empower youth, basketball continues to be a key pillar for our brand for what it represents: community, inclusivity, hope and empowerment,” said president of Foot Locker EMEA Susie Kuhn.
April 13, 2022: Gordon Brothers is teaming up with IMG to expand its Laura Ashley brand in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and the Middle East. The multi-year partnership with IMG will create new Laura Ashley apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty, homeware items, and hospitality offerings through carefully selected licensing and retail partnerships and collaborations. “We are delighted to partner with IMG to continue to expand Laura Ashley following the success of its spring homeware collection and fall fashion collaboration last year,” said Tobias Nanda, president of brands at Gordon Brothers. “Our focus in working with IMG will be to select additional strategic partnerships and collaborations to help bring the brand’s distinct aesthetic to consumers globally while continuing to develop our current brand partnerships.” After acquiring the Laura Ashley brand, archives, and related intellectual property and announcing a partnership with Next plc in 2020, Gordon Brothers relaunched Laura Ashley’s homeware collection online and in select Next stores. The company also debut a fall fashion collaboration with Batsheva in 2021 while developing brand partnerships in Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
April 8, 2022: The NPD Group has inked a new agreement to merge with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). To close the deal private equity firm Hellman & Friedman (H&F) will acquire a majority stake in IRI and merge IRI with H&F portfolio company NPD. H&F will lead an ownership group consisting of existing long-term IRI investors Vestar Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital, which will both retain significant investments in the combined company. Following the close of the transaction, H&F, Vestar and NMC will each have representation on the combined company’s board of directors. Kirk Perry will become CEO of the combined company and serve on the board. NPD executive chairman Tod Johnson will be chairman of the combined company’s board, and Karyn Schoenbart also will join the board. Jeff Ansell, current chairman of IRI’s board, will continue on the combined company’s board as well. Johnson and Schoenbart will continue to lead NPD until closing and will remain investors in the combined company. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
March 29, 2022: Frye is getting into resale with a new partnership with Recurate. The new peer-to-peer online resale service launches Tuesday and resides on the brand’s website where shoppers can find a range of recent and evergreen styles. Called “The Frye Exchange,” the service will allow Frye customers will also be able to sell their own pre-loved Frye products. Frye shoppers typically get up to 60% off of the original retail price, while sellers receive 100% of the profits from each sale in the form of an electronic gift card to spend on the site. “Sellers and purchasers alike can feel good about keeping items in circulation longer and out of landfills, just by listing or buying from The Frye Exchange,” said Lauren Salzinger, vice president and general manager at Frye. “We hope to bring beloved Frye products to a new audience of consumers while giving our current customers a chance to find a new life for the styles they no longer wear.”
March 28, 2022: Unlimited Footwear Group (UFG) has inked a new strategic licensing partnership with Gap Inc. to design, produce, and distribute Gap branded footwear throughout the entire European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Scandinavia, in a deal brokered by IMG. In partnership with Gap Inc., UFG’s The Heritage Footwear Company division in Utrecht, part of Unlimited Footwear Group, will manage the Gap footwear collections. The Heritage Footwear Company plans to launch two collections a year at a mid-price level and will distribute through its international sales network of both multi-brand fashion and sports retail and through wholesale and various online platforms. The first Gap footwear collection by UFG for men, women, and kids is scheduled to launch in spring/summer 2023.
March 22, 2022: Canada Goose has entered into an agreement with its longstanding partner Sazaby League Ltd. to create a new joint venture. Called “Canada Goose Japan,” the joint venture plans to accelerate DTC expansion, including retail stores. This agreement will replace an exclusive national distributor arrangement between Sazaby League and Canada Goose. Commencing in April, existing distribution will be assumed by the joint venture, of which each partner will own 50%. Current distribution includes a permanent Canada Goose retail store in Tokyo, a national e-commerce site, as well as wholesale points of distribution across the country. The new operating model is expected to significantly increase revenue and gross profit per unit from the existing business. Canada Goose Japan is also expected to generate C$60 million to C$65 million (which is approximately $47.6 million USD to $51.6 million USD based on current exchange rate) in total revenue in fiscal 2023, which is roughly double the contribution from this market in fiscal 2022.
March 15, 2022: Vestiaire Collective has acquired fellow fashion resale site Tradesy. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Vestiaire Collective, joining forces with Tradesy significantly increases the size and reach of each respective peer-to-peer marketplace. The combined company will boast a membership community of 23 million, a catalog of 5 million items and a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) exceeding $1 billion. And in order to better serve its expanded customer base and continue to position trust at the core of its business model, Vestiaire Collective said it will open a new authentication center in the Los Angeles area (its fifth authentication center globally, and second in the U.S.). As for leadership, Vestiaire Collective CEO Maximilian Bittner and Fanny Moizant, founder and president of Vestiaire Collective, will continue to serve in those roles for the combined company. Tracy DiNunzio, founder and CEO of Tradesy, will become CEO of the combined U.S. operations. Vestiaire Collective noted it will “progressively merge” its team with Tradesy’s team “to allow sharing of best practices and support accelerated growth in the U.S. market.”
March 10, 2022: Adidas has inked a new deal with the Italian Football Federation to outfit its national teams for four years, starting in 2023. The deal is worth about around 35 million euros (or $38.5 million) each year, according to Reuters. With the new deal, Adidas replaces Puma and the official partner of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). “We are incredibly proud to announce this long-term partnership with the Italian Football Federation,” said Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted in a statement.
March 9, 2022: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has inked a new with Canadian retailer SportChek to sell Reebok apparel and footwear across 300 of its corporate-owned stores and websites. The long-term, non-exclusive agreement will include the SportChek and Sports Experts banners and will roll out in fall of 2022. “We are thrilled to expand Reebok’s footprint at SportChek,” said ABG CMO and president Nick Woodhouse. “As a native Canadian I am personally acquainted with Canada’s vast retail landscape and there is no question that SportChek is the quintessential destination in the region for consumers seeking active and lifestyle brands. This partnership further cements Reebok’s presence in this very important and active market.”
March 8, 2022: Ba&sh has a new owner. On Tuesday, private equity firm L Catterton said it has sold its majority stake in the women’s brand and retailer to HLD, an investment group specializing in the support and development of European companies. Terms of the transaction are not disclosed. Since L Catterton’s investment in 2015, and the recruitment of Pierre-Arnaud Grenade as CEO, Ba&sh has undergone a significant transformation, with revenues multiplied by seven to reach over €320 million in 2022. This rapid growth has been enabled by a global expansion strategy, with more than 55% of sales now made outside France. Additionally, Ba&sh has implemented an omnichannel model with the opening of more than 200 points of sale since 2015 to reach a total of 300 at the beginning of 2022, and the development of its online offering which is now accounting for nearly 30% of the group’s revenues. At the same time, Ba&sh has successfully enriched its product range and expanded into accessories, from sneakers to jewelry and leather goods.
Feb. 28, 2022: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has closed its deal to acquire Reebok from Adidas, the German sportswear brand announced on Tuesday. During a transitionary period, Adidas will continue to operate Reebok in certain markets until ABG takes over all regions. Adidas, which confirmed that is has received the majority of the €2.1 billion, or about $2.5 billion at current exchange, from ABG, said it will launch a share buyback program to return the cash from the deal to shareholders.
Feb. 28, 2022: Online sneaker subscription platform Kyx World announced today that it has raised $3 million in its latest fundraising round. The company confirmed it is valued at $16 million. The round was led by sports tech venture capital company SeventySix Capital, Kyx World said via statement, with additional support coming from Rachel Zoe Ventures and Crush Ventures. Also, further investment came from several pro athletes and celebrities, including NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Super Bowl champion wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, DJ Skee, NTWRK president Moksha Fitzgibbons and others. Kyx World, which was founded by Brian Mupo (who also serves as CEO) and Steve Dorfman (the company’s COO), was created to offer sought-after sneakers and launched in June 2021.
Feb. 24, 2022: Skechers USA Inc. has inked a multi-year deal to serve as the official footwear sponsor of the US Open Pickleball Championships. As part of the partnership, Skechers will outfit the volunteer captains at the next event, to be held April 23-30 in Naples, Fla. The athletic company also will be onsite at the tournament, hosting an expo booth where fans and competitors can experience its range of footwear, particularly Skechers’ first on-court sneaker made especially for pickleball. The Viper Court, which launches in May, is priced at $90 and features a breathable, lightweight design. Its Goodyear rubber outsole offers pickleball players essential grip and stability, while a shock-absorbing Arch Fit insole provides comfort and support. The shoe will be available for purchase at the tournament, as well as at Skechers.com and at select branded stores and retail partners.
Feb. 23, 2022: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has inked a deal with New Guards Group to make it the operating partner for Reebok across Europe. New Guards, which is owned by Farfetch Limited, will oversee Reebok’s retail stores, e-commerce operations and wholesale business in Europe. New Guards will also have the opportunity to oversee market-specific luxury collaborations with Reebok. “We are thrilled to partner with New Guards on Reebok’s European distribution and add their expertise in luxury to Reebok,” said Jamie Salter, founder, Chairman and CEO of ABG. “As an industry powerhouse, New Guards is a respected authority in fashion and luxury with impressive global technology distribution capabilities. Together, we will elevate Reebok’s legacy of product innovation, introducing game-changing collaborations and distributing premium products to consumers in key markets across the globe.”
Feb. 23, 2022: Brunt Workwear announced today it has garnered $20 million in its series B fundraising round. The direct-to-consumer brand, which launched in fall 2020 amid the height of the pandemic, has grown quickly thanks to its focus on the booming work category. After launching with four boots, Brunt now offers nearly a dozen work footwear styles, as well as apparel and accessories. The company reported it exceeded its 2021 sales forecasts by 80%, fueled by a 119% surge between the first and second half of the year. For 2022, it predicts year-over-year growth of 200%. Brunt’s series B was led by private equity firm Stripes, which has also invested in On Running and Monday.com. Returning investors included TF Cornerstone, Bolt and others.
Feb. 18, 2022: Fanatics, along with other investors including Jay-Z, Maverick Carter, Meek Mill, the D’Amelio Family, and Lil Baby, have acquired Mitchell & Ness from Juggernaut Capital Partners. The lifestyle brand is a purveyor of authentic sports jerseys and licensed product and has deals with the NBA, NFL, MLB, and MLS. The strategic investment group will own about 25% of the company and the company will function independently under Fanatics. “Mitchell & Ness is an iconic brand and a pioneer within our industry. I’m incredibly excited for Fanatics to partner with this incredible group of innovative owners to build upon the company’s already strong business that has kept the brand culturally relevant for more than 100 years,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.
Feb. 18, 2022: Wolverine has signed a licensing partnership with apparel manufacturer Walt USA to create a line of Wolverine-branded innerwear and base layer products targeted to workers and outdoor enthusiasts. Set to launch in fall ’22, the men’s apparel collection will boast performance features such as antibacterial treatments, quick-dry materials, breathable mesh panels, tag-less labels, stay-tucked shirt lengths and stay-in-shape neck bands. Items will retail for $25-$45 at work and outdoor specialty stores, as well as department stores and Wolverine.com.
Feb. 17, 2022: Allbirds today announced the launch of Allbirds ReRun, a new resale platform powered by resale technology provider Trove. The new program will launch with outposts in three Allbirds stores, giving customers the ability to trade in their pre-owned Allbirds for $20 in store credit with a plan is to eventually expand the program to more stores. Via the new platform, Allbirds will also sell used shoes at lower price points, starting at $59. “To create a more sustainable fashion economy, it’s crucial that we take a holistic approach,” said Hana Kajimura, head of sustainability at Allbirds. “By launching our trade-in program, ReRun, we will enable our customers to play an integral role in extending the life of our shoes.”
Feb. 16, 2022: Rebecca Minkoff has new owners, according to WWD. As first reported by FN’s sister publication, the New York-based accessories and lifestyle brand has been sold to Sunrise Brands, which is headed by chairman and founder Gerard Guez. According to WWD sources, the asset sale was between $13 million and $19 million. Rebecca Minkoff is expected to continue in her role as chief creative officer and Uri Minkoff, who has been CEO, is said to be transitioning into a senior adviser role with a focus on innovation, WWD reported. Sunrise Brands is a Los Angeles-based diversified apparel company whose labels include NYDJ, Diane Gilman, Joie, Equipment, Current/Elliott, Skinnygirl and Donald Pliner. The company also does private label and has done celebrity lines with Melissa McCarthy and Eva Longoria.
Feb. 8, 2022: Steve Madden has inked a new licensing agreement with Centric Brands to add jewelry and hair accessories categories to its mix. The licensing agreement with Steve Madden is the latest addition to Centric Brands’ portfolio in the jewelry and accessories categories and continues the relationship between the companies. Centric has been producing jewelry under Madden’s Betsey Johnson brand for the past 4 years. According to Centric, products will retail from $19 to $75 and will be available starting this month at Macy’s, Amazon, Zalando, Liverpool, and Steve Madden retail stores throughout the globe. Edward Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Steve Madden, said in a statement, “Centric has done an excellent job with the design and marketing of our Betsey Johnson jewelry collection, and we are thrilled to be expanding our partnership to include our flagship Steve Madden brand. We believe this partnership provides the ideal platform to expand the Steve Madden brand in the jewelry and hair accessories categories.”
Feb. 5, 2022: Rolling Stone, a subsidiary of Penske Media, has snapped up a majority interest in Life is Beautiful, the annual music, arts and ideas festival in Las Vegas. The event was founded in 2013 by the late Zappos luminary Tony Hsieh as part of his strategy to reinvent downtown Las Vegas. In 2021, the festival was anchored by Billie Eilish, Green Day, and Tame Impala and drew over 170,000 people. “Live events are an integral part of Rolling Stone’s future, and Life is Beautiful is an incredible platform to realize this vision. Coupled with our significant digital scale and deep journalism, there are infinite possibilities to grow Life is Beautiful in unique and impactful ways,” said Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner. Since its founding, the festival has brought in over $350 million to the city. “Tony understood that his ability to change people’s lives was magnified exponentially by his ability to bring smart, motivated, people-focused entrepreneurs together,” said Richard Hsieh, Tony’s father. “The Life Is Beautiful festival is one of the greatest manifestations of Tony’s desire to bring people together.”
Feb. 4, 2022: Foot Solutions has acquired Florida-based retailer Happy Feet Plus. The acquisition brings together two major retail forces in specialty footwear and the ~3.5 billion global orthotic insoles market. Details of the transaction were not announced. As part of the integration plan, Foot Solutions has promoted Taylor Berry to VP of operations and Bryan Scott to SVP of strategic growth. Among other duties, Scott will be responsible for the newly formed Innovation Group—a team tasked to differentiate the company through technology integration, training, and product R&D. Joining the Innovation Group will be representatives from both companies, including Bryan Dickler, Foot Solutions’ head of medical and training, as well as Happy Feet’s Alan Boiko who has agreed to lead the company’s product innovation efforts.
Feb. 3, 2022: Building on its existing commitment to the women in sport, Nike has made an equity investment in the WNBA. Via the new investment, Nike will partner with the WNBA to focus on storytelling for athletes and further the involvement for women in grassroots opportunities. The investment builds upon Nike’s existing commitments to the league, including a collection of new uniforms last year.
Jan. 31, 2022: LA Fashion Week (LAFW) is under new ownership and will return April 1. Now owned by event company N4XT Experiences, the local fashion week is aiming to elevate its shows and experience as Los Angeles cements itself in the world of fashion, according to a statement on announcing the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. N4XT Experiences is a live events platform launched in 2022 by brand guru Ciarra Pardo, former chief creative officer of Fenty; Imad Izemrane, president and co-founder of Spring Place; entertainment industry veteran Marcus Ticotin; financial industry veteran Keith Abell; and Jackie Trebilcock, who has spent close to a decade building The NY Fashion Tech lab. LAFW’s fall/winter 2022 season kicks off in April at the Petersen Automotive Museum and at Spring Place Beverly Hills.
Jan. 13, 2022: Tecovas has secured $56 million in Series C funding, bringing the brand’s total lifetime equity funding to approximately $120 million. The Series C was led by Elephant, which also led Austin-based western footwear, apparel, and accessories brand’s Series A and Series B, and joined by new and existing investors, including Access Capital, Seamless Capital, and Kemmons Wilson Companies. “Our goal at Tecovas is to build the most welcoming brand in western,” said Paul Hedrick, founder and CEO of Tecovas. “This latest funding will allow us to scale our vision and welcome even more customers to the brand. We’ve seen rapid growth since Tecovas’ launch in 2015, and we plan to use the proceeds from this round of funding to continue on that trajectory, investing significantly in hiring, expanding our retail footprint, buying more inventory, and launching many new products.”
Big Deals in Dec. 2021
Dec. 30, 2021: American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has completed the acquisition of Quiet Logistics and strategic investments for approximately $360 million in cash. Quiet Logistics, which operates a network of in-market fulfillment centers in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis and Jacksonville, will be a wholly-owned AEO subsidiary and will continue to run its business independently. The network will support AEO’s continued growth, while also driving economies of scale as it expands its customer base to other brands and retailers seeking advanced logistics capabilities. The purchase solidifies operational efficiencies for AEO and creates a supply chain platform with significant long-term growth potential. “I am thrilled to officially welcome Quiet Logistics into the AEO Inc. portfolio, cementing a collaborative partnership that has meaningfully contributed to our financial results over the past 18 months,” said Jay Schottenstein, AEO’s executive chairman and CEO, in a statement. “AEO’s unique ability to reduce delivery costs amid rising inflation is a direct reflection of the efficiencies provided by their innovative fulfillment model. Quiet Logistics has a highly experienced supply chain leadership team and I look forward to their partnership as we continue to drive operational excellence and grow the platform into a meaningful business.”
Dec. 14, 2021: Genesco Inc., which owns Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Little Burgundy and Johnston & Murphy has signed a new licensing agreement with running brand Etonic. Under the three year agreement, Genesco will be the brand’s exclusive U.S. and Canadian footwear licensee. The agreement also includes two three-year options for renewal. “Along with our current roster of domestic and international licensees, we continue our work to build the Etonic brand and return it to its rightful place among the best athletic companies in the world,” said Bruce Weisfeld, partner at Etonic Holdings LLC. We are confident that Genesco will honor the Etonic tradition of ‘firsts’ by bringing new product to market through its extensive retail and wholesale platforms.”
Dec. 14, 2021: Prince, a leading tennis and lifestyle brand has inked a partnership with Pajar Canada to design, manufacture, and distribute footwear and outerwear for the brand. Prince is owned by Authentic Brands Group, the brand marketing firm that also owns Forever 21, JCPenney and Reebok. Via the partnership with Pajar Canada, Prince will expand into the footwear category with a new collection of shoes meant to be worn off the court. “Pajar Canada is a highly trusted footwear operator, which brings generations of expertise to this important category for the Prince brand,” said Taryn Washenik, Senior Vice President, Fashion, Classics and Outdoor at ABG. “This new partnership will help to further build out Prince’s lifestyle offerings and presents an opportunity to capture the attention of a new set of fashion tastemakers.”