By  on October 30, 2012

PARIS — IIC-Intersport International Corp., which bills itself as the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, said it would acquire 100 percent of the U.S. franchise retail chain The Athlete’s Foot, giving it a presence in new markets including the U.S., South America and Australia.

Bern, Switzerland-based IIC said it has reached an agreement with the Global Franchise Group, based in Atlanta, to acquire all the shares of its subsidiary The Athlete’s Foot Franchising LLC, taking over the brand’s worldwide trademark rights and franchise agreements.

This will expand Intersport’s presence to 63 countries from 41 at present, noted Franz Julen, chief executive officer of IIC-Intersport International.

“While we were in a strong global positionespecially in Europe so far, this acquisition allows us to move into the lucrative markets of the USA, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, take advantage of the potential of the emerging countries in South America, and we are strength- ening our position in Asia and the Middle East,” he stated.

IIC will set up an Athlete’s Foot Division and will operate the retailer’s stores under that banner. In markets where it is currently present, Intersport licensees will open The Athlete’s Foot stores, Julen said. IIC expects to benefit from synergies in areas such as assortment planning, prod- uct development, marketing and shop design.

The Athlete’s Foot has 430 stores in 27 countries, selling athletic footwear catering to the urban sports and lifestyle segments. Meanwhile, the Intersport Group, with more than 5,400 sports stores, has an annual turnover of more than 9.9 billion euros, or $12.8 billion at current exchange.

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