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Genesco Acquires Rights to Sell Etonic Sneakers in North America

The owner of Journeys and Johnston & Murphy has added another brand to its roster.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco announced a new three-year licensing agreement with athletic lifestyle brand Etonic, becoming its exclusive North American footwear licensee. The partners will launch their first line of product together in fall 2022 at sports and shoe specialty stores across the U.S. and Canada.

The agreement includes two three-year renewal options, which could potentially extend the partnership through January 2030. Genesco, which licenses footwear business from Levi’s, Dockers, Bass and Starter, will now count Etonic as part of a growing portfolio of heritage American brands.

Founded in 1876, Etonic’s athletic and lifestyle products were designed for sport and casual wear. “Etonic’s incredible history and past affiliation with sports legends like Arnold Palmer, Bill Rodgers, and Hakeem Olajuwon provide a terrific foundation for lifestyle footwear built on the brand’s performance heritage but designed for today’s consumer,” Andy Gilbert, president of Genesco, said in a statement. The lines designed and manufactured by the firm will span men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear, ranging in price from $50 to $110.

“Along with our current roster of domestic and international licensees, we continue our work to build the Etonic brand and return it to its rightful place among the best athletic companies in the world,” Bruce Weisfeld, partner at Etonic Holdings LLC, said.

The news comes on the heels of another record sales season for Genesco. Thanks to solid back-to-school season, third-quarter in-store sales rose 30 percent from the same period in 2020. Brick-and-mortar traffic rose to the highest levels seen since the pandemic began.

In the U.S., strong consumer demand propelled the Journeys business to record third-quarter revenue and operating profit—despite almost 30 percent lower inventory levels versus pre-Covid levels, the result of supply chain problems. Casual and fashion athletic footwear styles performed well, with nearly all of the retailer’s top 10 brands seeing year-over-year growth. sales of non-footwear items like backpacks grew 50 percent year-over-year.

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While overall sales remain down, Johnston & Murphy experienced strength in casual footwear, with casual athletic sales growing 120 percent from the prior-year period. Apparel like woven shirts and knits were 30 percent better from 2019. A new partnership with Yoobic will equip all 168 Johnston & Murphy-owned retail locations with technology to help associates and managers communicate, monitor tasks and drive consistency in consumer experience across stores.