The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) is gaining momentum.
The footwear retailer reported full-year sales of $503 million, 24% increase from the year-ago period. This number marked a record-breaking year for the recently acquired chain, surpassing its initial $500 million full-year sales target.
TAF, which was acquired by Arklyz Group AG from Intersport International Corp. in July, delivered these strong results amid major headwinds across the footwear industry, from supply chain slowdowns to inflation.
“We have deep community ties with those consumers in our stores, and that has really helped us in driving those sales, even in these difficult times,” said Param Singh, CEO of Arklyz. “And that’s one of the biggest reasons we were able to hit the target that we set back in early 2021.”
Singh also called out TAF’s “strong brand partnerships” with different footwear brands that allowed the chain to “get the right product at the right time” to be able to sell to consumers when product was limited.
Within the U.S., TAF surpassed its $60 million sales projection for the region, though Singh declined to share specific sales figures. The success was, in part, due to renewed investments in the chain’s Americas team. In September, TAF tapped Matt LaFone as its new U.S. president and GM of Americas, to manage operations in North, South and Central America.
In the U.S. TAF almost entirely relies on in-store sales, but is in the process of relaunching its digital business in the region, which it expects to ultimately yield 15% to 20% of sales.
Singh said the retailer will look to add 50 to 100 new store locations through 2022, through opening new TAF locations and via strategic acquisitions of existing stores or chains. Some of this growth will also come from the company’s Strategic African American Retail Track (STAART) program, which gives candidates from diverse backgrounds the tools and education to start their own TAF store. TAF is currently working with candidates who are targeting opening dates in the back half of 2022.
“I’m really excited about the progress,” said LaFone. “So I think the business is tracking along smoothly. And I think that we’re all excited about what the future holds.”
When it comes to targets for potential acquisitions, Singh said that he is looking for existing businesses in the marketplace with “strong brand relationships” and a “loyal consumer base.” He added that he is taking inspiration from companies like JD Sports and Foot Locker, both of whom have made notable acquisitions in recent months to expand their store fleets and consumer reach.
“I bought this business because I want to grow this business,” Singh said.