Accent Group acquires Stylerunner, plans to open bricks-and-mortar stores

Footwear giant Accent Group has acquired Stylerunner, an online activewear retailer that went into voluntary administration three weeks ago, for an undisclosed sum.

Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said the acquisition would enable the company to reach a new, predominantly female, audience and tap into the booming activewear and wellness categories.

“Activewear is a style trend that isn’t slowing down and we plan to encourage its momentum through strategic moves like this one,” Agostinelli said in a statement released to the ASX on Thursday afternoon.

Until now, Accent Group has played purely in the footwear space. It owns and operates the Hype DC, Platypus, The Athlete’s Foot and The Trybe footwear chains and distributes brands such as Skechers, Vans and Dr Martens.

But Stylerunner presents an opportunity to expand into complementary categories. Roughly 40-50 per cent of the online retailer’s sales are footwear, with the other 50-60 per cent coming from its activewear and wellness products, according to Agostinelli.

“It was more attractive to us that they had a great position with yoga wear and outerwear, and we’ve seen the wellness piece as a big growth market,” he told Inside Retail.

Agostinelli sees an opportunity for Accent Group to start selling these products in standalone, Stylerunner-branded bricks-and-mortar stores in future.

“We think the name resonates with the consumer, and the market position it has is something we feel the market is missing at the moment,” he said.

Agostinelli said he didn’t know how many stores would be opened, or when, but said they’d likely be in A-grade shopping centres and CBD sites.

“We’re literally one day in; we want to strengthen the back end of the business and introduce all the smarts Accent Group has to offer in the tech area,” he said.

500,000 loyal customers

Founded by Julie Stevanja in 2012, Stylerunner sells exclusive and limited-edition sneakers, apparel and accessories from the likes of Nike, Adidas, P.E Nation and Jaggad, as well as various supplements.

The online retailer has a loyal and engaged customer database of well over 500,000, according to Agostinelli, which doesn’t cross over with Accent Group’s existing customers.

To drive efficiencies, Accent Group plans to innovate Stylerunner’s category and customer experience, strengthen its supplier relationships, build on its current digital, CRM and marketing capabilities and grow collaborations with its vertical brands.

The retailer said it would expand the brand by leveraging its supply chain capabilities and economies of scale as well as developing a strategy for bricks-and-mortar stores.

Stevanja has joined Accent Group to lead the Stylerunner business going forward, and will report to Accent Group’s chief digital officer, Mark Teperson.

The deal was structured as an asset sale on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is not expected to have a material impact on Accent Group’s FY20 earnings.

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