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Fleet Feet’s Pointer Talks JackRabbit

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As reported last week, Fleet Feet is acquiring JackRabbit in a deal that will result in a national, omnichannel running specialty business of more than 250 doors under a Fleet Feet single banner. Here, Fleet Feet President & CEO Joey Pointer answers five quick questions about the acquisition.

Footwear Insight Extra: Is a public offering in the future for Fleet Feet after this acquisition of JackRabbit?

Joey Pointer: “No. Fleet Feet has been a privately-owned company throughout its 45-year history, and will remain focused on creating ownership opportunities through our franchise model.”

Will any of JackRabbit management remain with Fleet Feet?

“To ensure a seamless operational transition and customer experience, we will retain key members of JackRabbit's retail operations team who will work closely with Fleet Feet's Store Support Team as well as all regional and store managers, and employees. We’re continuing to work closely with JackRabbit’s management team as this deal has actualized to help identify what our emerging and ongoing business needs are, and how the remaining JackRabbit team can help us fill those gaps.”

We know that the plan going forward is to  redirect all jackrabbit.com online traffic to fleetfeet.com. How will having clicks on jackrabbit.com redirected to Fleet Feet materially help FF’s e-commerce business?

“Having JackRabbit.com redirect to FleetFeet.com will help in a few ways. Our website will be one of the first ways in which customers who've historically shopped with JackRabbit will experience the Fleet Feet brand. By being redirected to our site, these new customers will not only see the inventory available through our e-commerce site, but will be able to check their local inventory; learn about our training programs; read our blog that includes information on exercises, health and nutrition; and, be introduced to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and charitable partnerships. In the long-term, we believe this increased traffic and awareness of our brand will lead to greater conversion both in-store and online.”

What will the breakdown be after the acquisition closes when it comes to corporately owned Fleet Feet stores vs. Fleet Feet franchisees? What is the direction going forward? Is Fleet Feet moving away from the franchise model?

“At the end of 2021, Fleet Feet will have 156 franchise-owned locations and 94 company-owned locations. We have a 45-year history of franchising and will continue to seek development opportunities with existing and new franchisees. We currently have five new franchisees in the pipeline who will be opening Fleet Feet locations in markets new to the brand; additionally, more than a dozen existing franchisees are looking to add new stores within their current markets. As some markets experience growth, we are actively pursuing acquisition opportunities and expansion to support that growth within our legacy markets. With 250 stores at the end of this year, we still believe there is a tremendous runway to develop stores across the United States.”

How will the acquisition of JackRabbit impact Fleet Feet’s buying clout with key vendors?

“Fleet Feet has always strived to be the best retail partner with all of our vendors. We look forward to continuing those win-win relationships and looking for new ways to innovate and serve runners together.”

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Nov 17, 2021

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