Foot Locker has its eye on the activewear sector—and its latest strategic investment could elevate its apparel offering for consumers.
The New York-based athletic retailer made a $15 million strategic investment in Carbon38—buying a majority stake in the women’s luxury activewear retailer. Foot Locker’s Series A funding round will bring the total raised by Carbon38 to more than $20 million—enabling Foot Locker to elevate Carbon38’s omnichannel operations and boost its own activewear presence.
“We are excited to have Foot Locker as an investor as we continue to scale our business and expand our omni-channel strategy, both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Katie Warner Johnson, Carbon38 co-founder and chief executive officer. “This funding enables us to accelerate our path of rapid growth and achieve our mission of defining a new category of luxury active ready-to-wear for women.”
As part of the partnership, Lauren B. Peters, Foot Locker Inc.’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will join Carbon38’s board to advise the company about strategic initiatives, trend forecasting and other operations.
“We have admired the Carbon38 story and mission since we met three years ago. Katie and the team at Carbon38 have done an amazing job creating a brand with an extremely loyal following in the fitness and fashion worlds,” said Peters. “In addition to the support of Carbon38’s exceptional growth potential that our investment provides, we expect to leverage the team’s keen industry insights and focus in order to elevate our own SIX:02 banner’s performance.”
Foot Locker’s investment comes on the heels of its other industry partnerships—including its collaboration with Nike. In November, Foot Locker partnered with the athletic giant to elevate consumers’ brick-and-mortar experiences. As part of the partnership, Foot Locker and Nike opened new in-store pop-up experiences, including Sneakeasy and House of Hoops. Additionally, Foot Locker added specially trained Nike experts to assist consumers at its store locations.
The Foot Locker and Nike partnership is not new though—last year, the footwear sector experienced a surge of collaborations, as companies, designers and brands alike worked together to combat retail’s uncertainty. What’s more, these celebrity and influencer collaborations fostered classic styles and new fabrications, in order to appeal to both new and loyal footwear consumers in today’s competitive environment.