FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 25, 2001–Oakley Inc. (NYSE:OO) today announced the expansion of its retail partnership with Foot Locker, the world’s largest athletic specialty retailer and a division of Venator Group Inc. (NYSE:Z).
This partnership calls for Foot Locker to expand its Oakley eyewear offerings in meaningful quantities and to also increase significantly the number of stores carrying Oakley footwear.
In response to recent developments in Oakley’s relationship with Luxottica Group S.p.A. (NYSE:LUX), the parent company of Sunglass Hut, Oakley continues to initiate new marketing and distribution strategies as outlined in its Aug. 2, 2001 news release.
This expansion plan will be initiated in early October, 2001 with an extensive assortment of Oakley’s innovative eyewear products expected to be in 350 U.S. Foot Locker stores by early November. Stores will be outfitted with Oakley-branded doublewide eyewear towers and branded footwear rocket displays to further communicate the synergies of the Oakley brand across product categories.
The broad eyewear assortment will qualify these 350 Foot Locker stores to join the “Premium Oakley Dealer” program recently established by the company, and the stores will be merchandised with branded in-store and window signage to attract consumers seeking the latest innovations in Oakley eyewear.
Oakley will further support Foot Locker’s selling efforts by providing product and technology training clinics for store management and staff and by supplying technical information about the products for inclusion in the chain’s monthly merchandising books distributed to store personnel.
Foot Locker is also showcasing Oakley’s fall 2001 footwear products in 316 of its nearly 1,500 U.S. stores, up from 112 stores currently. These stores include many of Foot Locker’s highest volume locations.
“Our new partnership with Foot Locker is another step in our strategic plan designed to overcome Sunglass Hut’s decision not to carry the latest and greatest Oakley products,” said Oakley Chief Executive Officer Jim Jannard.
“As the largest athletic specialty retailer in the world, Foot Locker has consistently demonstrated its commitment to featuring, and has a proven record of selling, the most innovative and performance-enhancing products available.
“We’re confident in Foot Locker’s ability to showcase Oakley products and to help educate consumers about the technical and sculptural features that clearly set our products apart from any competition,” Jannard concluded.
“Oakley represents one of the most powerful performance athletic brands in the world today,” said Tim Finn, president and chief executive officer of Foot Locker U.S. “We’re excited to be adding Oakley’s innovative eyewear to our stores to complement our expanding support of Oakley footwear and have great confidence in the brand’s ability to drive increased traffic and sales.”
“We have learned from our own retailing experience that when our eyewear is showcased with our footwear they both do very well,” commented Chief Operating Officer Link Newcomb.
“Considering the similarities in the core customer base for both Foot Locker and Oakley, this latest retailing partnership creates an excellent opportunity to introduce this group to more than just one Oakley product category.”
Newcomb reiterated: “Sunglass Hut no longer represents the best retail partner for the Oakley brand now that our product line includes footwear, apparel and watches.
“Coupled with a similar announcement made earlier with Venator Group’s Champs Sports chain and ongoing positive discussions with other current and potential retail partners, it is clear that retailers are embracing this unique opportunity to expand distribution of Oakley products and make a wider variety of our innovative items available to consumers.
“When our product categories are merchandised together, it is one of those rare occasions when one plus one equals four.”
Oakley: An original, unexpected and innovative world brand. Building on its legacy of market-leading sunglasses, the company offers expanding lines of premium performance footwear, apparel, accessories, watches and prescription eyewear to consumers in more than 70 countries.
Trailing-12-month net sales through June 30, 2001 totaled $425.4 million and generated net income of $59.9 million — a 14.1 percent net margin.
Oakley news releases, SEC filings and the company’s Annual Report are available at no charge through the company’s Web site at www.oakley.com.
About Venator Group
Venator Group is primarily a mall-based athletic specialty retailer that operates approximately 3,600 athletic retail stores in 14 countries in North America, Europe and Australia.
Through its Athletic Group of specialty retail stores, including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker and Champs Sports, as well as its direct-to-customer channel Footlocker.com/Eastbay, the company is the leading provider of athletic footwear and apparel.