Foot Locker is getting back into the private label business.
After exiting the category three years ago, the sneaker and sporting goods retailer will introduce Lckr by Foot Locker to its 800-plus stores this week.
Bryon Milburn, senior vice president and general manager for the company, said the decision to shutter its Foot Locker label, which the company had offered for decades, was made because it had been focused on “commodity items,” and while it did drive sales, it “didn’t feel connected to the customer or premium in nature,” he said. “But we felt now was the right time to reintroduce it.”
Milburn described Lckr as “a little more progressive,” with an assortment of “everyday basics and lifestyle pieces that complement what we have in our stores.” On the apparel end, that includes Nike, Adidas, Puma and other sports brands. Foot Locker Inc., also offers Eastbay Performance, a label produced exclusively for the corporation’s stores, including Champs Sports.
Lckr by Foot Locker is instead designed to be worn to and from the game, practice or workout, and is intended to complement the stores’ existing mix.
“At Foot Locker, we’re continuing to grow our assortment every day to make sure we’re meeting the demands of all our customers,” Milburn said. “Today, we’re seeing the need for comfort and the acceptance of casualwear in more places than ever before. With Lckr, we have developed an elevated basics line that gives our customers a diverse way to complement their personal styles at a great value.”
The debut Lckr collection will include matching fleece pullover hoodies and tapered sweatpants as well as tops, full-zip hoodies, cargo pants, track jackets and pant sets. The palette will range from bright white and jet black to gray and also feature seasonal color pops such as dusty rose, blue, brown, green and burgundy. Sizing will range from men’s small to 2XL, with prices from $40 to $75. It will be sold at Foot Locker stores globally and online beginning Wednesday.
Looking ahead, Milburn said the plan is to continue to offer the basics and add categories such as twills and French terry in neutrals and fashion colors and patterns such as camouflages and tie-dyes. For spring, the line will offer shorts, Ts and lightweight outerwear. And while footwear is not in the immediate plan, Milburn didn’t rule it out. “It’s an interesting opportunity,” he said. “We were in the footwear business many years ago so it could be something we’ll consider down the line.”
Milburn said the apparel collection was designed by Foot Locker’s in-house team based on data and insight that it gleaned from customers. It was then produced by the company’s sourcing team in Hong Kong.
Although he acknowledged that there was “definitely a headwind” when it comes to the supply chain, it did not cause a massive disruption in the launch of Lckr, only pushing back the debut a few weeks.
Milburn declined to say how large a business apparel represents for Foot Locker, saying only that it is “a significant part of the overall business. It’s a strategic part of our growth plan and a huge growth vehicle,” he said. He also wouldn’t project how large Lckr can be other than to say it, too, “can be a significant business.”
To promote the launch, Foot Locker has turned to musician and activist Gunna to star in the Lckr campaign. The rapper is “a friend of the family,” Milburn said, pointing to his “dedication to his community, which is very important to us.” He will be featured alongside musician Tone Stith; actress Paigion Walker, and on-air host Eutel Wallace in the campaign. And the store’s staff, or “stripers” as they’re called, will also be ambassadors for the line, Milburn said.
Foot Locker, Inc. operates more than 3,000 stores in 27 countries under the Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay, WSS, Footaction and Sidestep names.