The 550-odd stores and websites affiliated with The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) around the world raised their sales by 24 percent to a new record of $503 million in the past year, said the Arklyz Group, which acquired the chain from Intersport International Corp. in July, surpassing the originally set target of $500 million. The new owner also announced the appointment of a high-caliber executive, Martin Kuenzi, to a new position in the supervisory board of TAF, reporting to Param Singh, CEO of Arklyz.
Kuenzi is leaving as chief financial officer and deputy CEO at IIC, which he joined in August 1999 after working in financial positions for various companies, including Bally. On the side, he became a non-executive director of Migros in 2020 while continuing to serve since 2011 as a board member and treasurer of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI). He plans to keep both of those positions, chairing the finance committees of both Migros and WFSGI.
Without giving a specific figure for the U.S. market, where TAF once enjoyed a major presence, Arklyz said the chain surpassed an original $60 sales projection there in 2021, following new investments in the local team. In September, TAF hired Matt LaFone as U.S. president and general manager for the Americas, managing North, South, and Central American operations. TAF is in the process of relaunching online sales in the region, targeting a sales penetration of 15 to 20 percent.
TAF plans to add 50 to 100 new store locations in 2022 through strategic acquisitions and the rollout of a Strategic African American Retail Track (STAART) program, helping candidates from diverse backgrounds to start their own TAF stores.
Singh indicated that he is taking inspiration from JD Sports Fashion and Foot Locker, which made notable acquisitions in recent months, to expand the store fleet and consumer reach, capitalizing on “strong brand relationships” and a “loyal consumer base.”