Arklyz Group has acquired Shoe City, a Baltimore-based sneaker and streetwear retailer and associated website, ycmc.com.
The agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, marks the third major acquisition for Arklyz over the past year – and the second recent deal was to expand the company’s North American presence. In July 2021, Arklyz acquired The Athlete’s Foot from Intersport International Corp. And this month, the company acquired Asphalteorone of Europe’s leading retailers of sneakers and streetwear.
With the Shoe City deal, Arklyz Group adds 40 stores to its US retail roster, which is led by more than 50 The Athlete’s Foot stores across 12 franchisees. The Athlete’s Foot chain also has access to the Shoe City fulfillment center which can be used to fulfill orders for both banners.
When it comes to acquisition opportunities, The Athlete’s Foot and Arklyz Group seek retailers with strong community ties and loyal consumer bases. Matt Lafone, President of The Athlete’s Foot and General Manager of the Americas, described Shoe City’s community involvement as “best in class” since the family business started in Baltimore more than 70 years ago.
“[Shoe City] focuses on serving underserved neighborhoods and underserved communities,” Lafone said. “They have a strong minority consumer representation in stores, just like athlete’s foot.”
Like Shoe City, The Athlete’s Foot and Asphaltgold have also excelled in consumer retention in their respective regions.
“Starting with our first outlet in Baltimore and then expanding to 40 more stores over the past 70 years across the DMV with deep local ties to the community, I’m pleased that Arklyz and The Athlete’s Foot, along with a very similar approach, take over our family business,” Shoe City President Greg Greenburg said in a statement. “I believe Arklyz and TAF will help Shoe City and ycmc.com grow further and make them even more community and culturally relevant to our local consumers.”
Arklyz CEO Param Singh previously told FN that when it comes to potential acquisition targets, he is looking for existing businesses in the market with “strong brand relationships” and a “loyal consumer base.” “. He said he was taking inspiration from companies like JD Sports and Foot Locker, both of which have made notable acquisitions in recent months to expand their store fleet and reach with consumers.
In addition to strong community ties, Lafone stressed the importance of finding brands that connect with underserved consumers and focus on diversity and philanthropic efforts, which he says Shoe City achieves.
Although the plan is currently to retain the same Shoe City retail brand, the chain’s website will eventually be updated to represent a co-branding between The Athlete’s Foot and Shoe City.
“It’s really about economies of scale,” Lafone said.