ABG acquires footwear brands from Payless

Tuesday, 05 August 2014
Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns brands including Juicy Couture, has acquired four sports-inspired athletic footwear brands from Payless Holdings for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes several youth lifestyle, athletic and board-sports inspired brands, including Airwalk, Hind, Vision Street Wear, and Above The Rim. ABG have purchased “certain assets” from Collective Licensing International, Lifestyle Brands Corp. and Collective Brands Cooperatief including the intellectual property assets connected to the footwear brands.

Commenting on the acquisition, ABG’s chairman and CEO, Jamie Salter said: "Airwalk has built a loyal following through shaping and influencing the progression of the action sports community and industry.

"Airwalk's history is filled with stories about people pushing innovation, supporting the athletic scene, and taking creative risks, all fuelled by a passion for athletes and action sports - this is exactly the kind of attitude and passion that makes Airwalk a great fit for the ABG portfolio."

Authentic Brands Group purchases Airwalk footwear from Payless

However, as part of the agreement, Payless will retain the right to market and sell Airwalk-branded products in its company-owned and franchise stores, and through e-commerce. The youth brand founded in 1986 in California is globally recognised and currently its performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories are sold in more than 100 countries around the globe.

Payless Holdings, chief executive officer, W. Paul Jones added: "Airwalk is a very popular and successful brand at Payless around the world. We are excited to continue to offer one of the most authentic youth lifestyle brands in the marketplace to our Payless customers."

ABG’s president and chief marketing officer, Nick Woodhouse, said: "The Airwalk, Vision, Hind and Above The Rim brands each resonate with the younger customer who is searching for authentic ties to sports culture.

"We are convinced that there is an incredible opportunity to grow each of these brands and re-connect consumers with them in a powerful way."

ABG which in recent months has been expanding Juicy Couture, a brand that it acquired in 2013, has plans to work with each brand’s existing licensees to expand their US presence and product offering, as well as looking to grow each brand's business internationally.

Image: Airwalk footwear