Foot Locker is making a string of investments in online brands as a way to stay relevant with younger shoppers.
In its latest deal, the sneaker retailer said Tuesday it has invested $12.5 million in children's apparel company Rockets of Awesome. This follows Foot Locker's $100 million investment in online sneaker resell platform Goat Group, along with investments in lifestyle brand Super Heroic, activewear brand Carbon38 and footwear design academy Pensole.
"We are elevating our customer experience and making investments for the long term," Foot Locker CEO Dick Johnson told CNBC. He said the company is actively looking for ways "to tap into the capabilities and talent of innovative and unique brands through partnerships or investments" as it aims to serve "the evolving youth culture."
Foot Locker's investment in Rockets of Awesome is part of the online retailer's $19.5 million Series C funding round. Now, Rockets of Awesome — which hasn't had much of a bricks-and-mortar presence other than a handful of pop-up shops — will be opening ministores within Kids Foot Locker locations across the country. Rockets of Awesome is also going to begin selling on Foot Locker's children's website.
"The investment represents a modern way of thinking in an increasingly competitive climate," Rockets of Awesome CEO Rachel Blumenthal said. "They want to learn from us just as much as we want to learn from them, and that exchange of expertise will give us both an advantage as we continue to shape our businesses."