Wolverine Acquires Sweaty Betty
Wolverine Diversifies Away from Footwear
Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) is acquiring activewear brand Sweaty Betty for $410 million in cash. Wolverine has been in the shoe business since 1883. It currently owns and operates many shoe brands including Keds, Sperry, Saucony, and Chaco. Sweaty Betty will be Wolverine’s first brand which is not focused on footwear, but the company hopes to launch collaborations between Sweaty Betty and its existing brands.
“Sweaty Betty aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plan for Wolverine Worldwide, as we focus on growing digital channels, expanding our international footprint, and building our brand portfolio beyond footwear,” said Brendan Hoffman, President and incoming CEO of Wolverine.
The Activewear Boom
Activewear sales have been climbing for some time. The pandemic accelerated this trend as people wore leggings and sweatshirts not just to work out, but also to lounge and work from home. With many companies deciding to keep hybrid and remote work in place, the activewear boom is expected to continue.
Brands specializing in activewear, like Lululemon (LULU) and Nike (NKE), have seen growth during the pandemic. Additionally, companies from other parts of the apparel industry are working to gain ground in the activewear sector. Brands like J.Crew and Tory Burch LLC have recently launched workout clothing lines, and department stores like Kohl’s (KSS) and Nordstrom (JWN) are also investing in more activewear offerings.
Wolverine’s Plans for Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty was founded in the UK. Its products are currently sold at about 60 brick-and-mortar locations in Britain as well as a few stores in Hong Kong. Some Sweaty Betty items are also available at Nordstrom locations in the US and Canada.
Sweaty Betty is on track to earn about $250 million in revenue this year. Wolverine plans to grow Sweaty Betty’s physical presence in the US. However, about 70% of the company’s sales come from ecommerce, which will be helpful as Wolverine works to scale the brand around the world.
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