TECHNOLOGY

Foot Locker makes biggest investment to date

BY Dan Berthiaume

Online sneaker marketplace Goat Group fits into Foot Locker’s omnichannel innovation plans.

Foot Locker is making a $100 million minority investment into Goat Group, operator of an online platform for the sale and resale of classic sneakers. Over time, Foot Locker and Goat Group will combine efforts across digital and physical retail platforms to create exclusive customer experiences.

Plans include using at least some of Foot Locker’s more than 3,000 stores across 27 countries as physical access points for Goat Group’s mostly digital presence. Meanwhile, Foot Locker gains access to Goat Group’s mostly younger and digital-savvy customer base, as well as its omnichannel platform. The investment is also expected to help accelerate Goat Group’s global operations, expanding its omnichannel experience and innovative technologies.

Goat Group (Goat refers to the sports acronym for Greatest of All Time) was founded in 2015 by college friends Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano. In February 2018, it acquired cult-fave sneaker consignment retailer Flight Club, which operates three stores selling rare and coveted sneakers in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

“We are excited to leverage Goat Group’s technology to further innovate the sneaker buying experience and utilize their best-in-class online marketplace to help meet the ever-growing global demand for the latest product,” said Richard Johnson, Foot Locker chairman and CEO. “Together, Foot Locker and Goat Group’s shared commitment to trust and authenticity in the sneaker industry will provide consumers with unparalleled experiences and diversified offerings.”

Foot Locker’s partnership with Goat Group is the latest in a string of recent investments in innovative, digital-first companies including women’s luxury activewear brand Carbon38, tactical play and children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic, and footwear design academy Pensole.

Foot Locker’s investment will bring the total raised by Goat Group to $197.6 million since it was founded. Scott Martin, Foot Locker senior VP of strategy and store development, will join Goat Group’s board of directors.

“In 2015, we pioneered the ship-to-verify model with a mission to bring a seamless and safe customer experience to the secondary sneaker market, stated Lu, co-founder and CEO of Goat Group.

“With over 3,000 retail locations, Foot Locker will support our primarily digital presence with physical access points worldwide, bringing more value to our community of buyers and sellers.”

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