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Gart Capital invests $10 million in Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group

BY Marianne Wilson

Indianapolis — The Finish Line announced that Gart Capital Partners will invest $10 million in Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group, with the goal of creating the largest operator of specialty running shoe business in the United States.

The joint venture, which will be majority owned by Finish Line, builds upon the retailer’s 2011 acquisition of an 18-store chain of specialty running shops operating under The Running Company banner. This acquisition represented a first step in pursuing the significant market opportunity within specialty running, which today is a highly fragmented market with limited e-commerce penetration.

The headquarters of the Running Specialty Group will be relocated to Denver, where Gart will manage all day-to-day operations as well as merchandising and the acquisition of additional running operators from its home base there. Finish Line will continue to leverage its strengths as a leading omni-channel retailer, providing direct logistics, marketing and IT support along with digital expertise.

“We are excited to take our specialty running growth plans to the next level with GCP,” said Finish Line chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon. “Like the ski retail business, customers within specialty running prize a shopping experience that is expert, highly localized and infused with the sport’s unique culture.”

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Mac Naughton returns to familiar territory

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton was back in Canada earlier this week at the CIBC World Markets Retail and Consumer Conference in Toronto sharing a message of improved traction and accelerating momentum.

Toronto is familiar territory for Mac Naughton as he spent one year as chief merchandising officer of Walmart Canada before joining Walmart U.S. as EVP of merchandising in the fall of 2010. While he covered a lot of familiar ground regarding strategy, key initiatives and financial performance, anytime a top Walmart executive participates in an investor conference it’s worth paying attention to what was said. To access a transcript of Mac Naughton’s remarks, click here.

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Whole Foods hooks sustainable seafood

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Whole Foods Market is leading charge to promote the sale of sustainable seafood by becoming the first national grocer to stop selling red-rated seafood. The company announced that, beginning this Earth Day (April 22), it will no longer carry red-rated, wild-caught fish in its seafood departments.

A red rating indicates that a species is suffering from overfishing or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats; the ratings are determined by nonprofit research organizations Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fish that fall in this category include Atlantic halibut, grey sole and skate. Whole Foods Market’s fishmongers will help recommend alternatives, such as MSC-certified Pacific halibut and yellow-rated Dover sole and Atlantic flounder.

Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s green or "Best Choice" ratings mean species are abundant and are caught in environmentally-friendly ways; yellow or "Good Alternative" ratings indicate some concerns with the species’ status or catch methods.

Whole Foods noted that any wild-caught seafood at Whole Foods Market that does not carry the color-coded rankings of Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium comes from fisheries deemed sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which remains the company’s primary indicator for seafood sustainability.

Whole Foods seafood sustainability program began in 2010 when its regions partnered with either Blue Ocean Institute or Monterey Bay Aquarium (SeaChoice in Canada) to display color-coded sustainability ratings at its seafood counters so customers could make informed choices when selecting wild-caught seafood.

"Through collaborations with the Marine Stewardship Council, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium, we offer our shoppers knowledge to make conscious seafood choices for themselves, their families and our oceans," saidDavid Pilat, Whole Foods Market’s global seafood buyer

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