Foot Locker Inc is to make a US$100m strategic investment in second-hand sneaker marketplace Goat Group, in a move it says will enable the two companies to provide an “unmatched” customer experience and elevate engagement across the entire trainer industry.
Founded in 2015, Goat Group offers authentic second-hand sneakers through company-operated retail stores, e-commerce sites and mobile apps. It also operates the Goat and Flight Club brands.
The investment by Foot Locker, which is made through its subsidiary, brings the total raised by Goat Group to $197.6m since it was launched.
Over time, the deal will see Foot Locker and Goat Group combine efforts across digital and physical retail platforms to create exclusive customer experiences. It is also expected to help accelerate Goat Group’s global operations, expanding its omnichannel experience and innovative technologies.
“We are constantly looking at new ways to elevate our customer experience and bring sneaker and youth culture to people around the world,” says Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson. “We are excited to leverage Goat Group’s technology to further innovate the sneaker buying experience and utilise their best-in-class online marketplace to help meet the ever-growing global demand for the latest product. 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.”
As part of the deal, Scott Martin, Foot Locker’s senior vice president 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,” says Eddy 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. Having Foot Locker as a strategic partner will also expand our business as we continue to scale our operations both domestically and internationally.”
The deal follows a series of recent investments by Foot Locker in innovative, digital-first companies including leading women’s luxury activewear brand Carbon38, and tactical play and children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic. Most recently the company made a $2m strategic investment in Pensole Footwear Design Academy to give it and its vendor partners access to new design and manufacturing talent.