Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 20


Upfront

FOOT LOCKER

then known as Woolworth's - purchased
the Wisconsin-based company.
Foot Locker has changed dramatically
in the nearly 20 years since, Johnson says.
After being absorbed into the company,
Johnson at first stuck with the catalog
side of the business and had little interaction with the brick-and-mortar stores.
That changed in 2007 when he took over
the European operations, which were
firmly rooted in physical locations.
As CEO, Johnson now is responsible
for all of Foot Locker's nearly 3,400
stores. The company operates locations in
North America and 19 countries in Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
It also franchises stores in the Middle
East and South Korea. In addition to the
Foot Locker name, the company's brands
include Champs Sports, Footaction, Lady
Foot Locker, SIX:02, Kid's Foot Locker,
Runners Point, Sidestep, and Eastbay.
Europe is one of Foot Locker's
strategic growth pillars. The company
purchased Runners Point Group in 2013,
giving it control over 212 stores in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Austria
and expanding its footprint in Europe to
over 850 stores. Johnson sees opportunities to expand the Foot Locker and Kid's
Foot Locker brands throughout Europe.
In addition to its physical retail locations, Foot Locker sells shoes through
its brands' websites. Foot Locker has
always been forward-thinking when it
comes to online. The Eastbay acquisition
prepared the company's infrastructure
for e-commerce and the first Foot Locker websites appeared in the early 2000s.
The move to online shopping has
forced some retailers to close brick-andmortar stores, but Foot Locker believes
each shopping avenue has value for its
customers. "The channel is irrelevant,"
Johnson says. "We want to have a great
connectivity with our consumer wherever they choose to interact."

Passion for the Game
How customers perceive a brand is instrumental in its success. Foot Locker has
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FOOT_LOCKER.indd 20

"
Foot Locker aims to play up the
intersection of sport and culture to
attract customers.

long been seen as the expert on athletic
shoes. The referee jerseys worn by sales associates - in use since the brand launched
in 1974 - are an integral part of the company's athletic culture and give it a sense
of authority when it comes to sneakers.
Beginning in 2009, Foot Locker began
conceptualizing its stores to create an even
stronger environment for the consumer
based around the shoe brands it sells.
Consumers embraced those changes
because they see the company's passion
for sneakers and its willingness to cater to
different customer groups, Johnson says.
"Each of our banners stand for something
different, [and] the consumers who shop
there have different buying habits and
different buying occasions," he explains.
Foot Locker is perceived as the allaround sneaker store, while Champs has

Bucking a Trend

By creating retail environments that connect to consumers, Foot Locker has fought
off the declines experienced by other mall
retailers. Real-estate research firm Green
Street Advisors released a report last
spring that determined department stores
needed to close about 800 stores across
the country to return to the same sales per
square foot productivity they had in 2006.
The potential loss of a fifth of the country's
mall anchor store space has concerned the
industry - especially since major retailers like Sears and Macy's have already
dropped locations.
However, CEO Dick Johnson says traffic at
Foot Locker stores is actually up and credits
that success to the company's ability to excite consumers. "We make people happy,"
he says. "They leave our stores with a bag,
they have a fresh pair of kicks that they get
to wear at school and show it off."

November/December 2016

11/4/16 10:15 AM


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 2
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 5
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 6
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 7
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - 8
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Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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