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20 Nov

Mary Dillon Starts With Momentum at Foot Locker

Mary Dillon Starts With Momentum at Foot Locker

Possibly blush and basketball shoes aren’t so different in spite of everything. 

Mary Dillon is perhaps proving as much at Inc. 

The architect behind much of Ulta Beauty’s success is settling into her recent gig as president and chief executive officer of the sneaker mainstay and is coming in with some momentum. She’s also not the just one moving right into a recent corner office within the sneaker world, where Bjørn Gulden has been tapped as the subsequent CEO of Adidas and Arne Freundt has taken up the post of CEO for Puma. 

In Dillon’s first quarterly report back to Wall Street since taking the helm in September, Foot Locker logged better-than-expected adjusted earnings and boosted its outlook for the yr — at a time when outlooks in apparel are generally coming down. 

On a call with analysts, Dillon laid out what brought her to Foot Locker.

Sneakers are fun,” she said. “I are available with a real love for the product, which has only grown daily that I’ve been here, together with the variety of sneakers that I actually have.

“It is a growth category with an extended runway ahead where the intersection of sport, fitness, fashion and the casualization of society and the tailwinds for sneakers, I feel, will probably be persistent for a few years to return,” she said. “And very similar to beauty’s, [the] sneaker category is driven by passionate enthusiasts who’re deeply engaged within the category, products that allow for individual expressions which can be fun to buy and where newness and innovation matters.”

Dillon also pointed to sneakers as “reasonably priced luxury” and said the category may very well be “resilient within the face of steep inflationary pressures.”

And Foot Locker, she said, has each great strength and history in sneakers and room for improvement. 

“We actually authentically own street basketball and youth culture, and we’re on the intersection of fitness and trend and sport,” she said. “And I feel yet there’s numerous folks who probably don’t know Foot Locker, imagine it or not, right? So we’ve got strong brand awareness, but possibly somewhat latent equities. And I feel as we take into consideration actually, the momentum we’re already seeing with the diversification of brands, and…we’re seeing things with recent brands, bringing recent customers, women getting more drawn to Foot Locker, and we’re really just getting began.”

Dillon also said the corporate can simplify its business, can shift from a “product-led” to a “consumer-led” approach, and grow to be more omnichannel savvy. 

The simplification drive has already began and Dillon said Foot Locker would halt its entry into Japan and wind down two joint ventures in Europe. 

Investors liked what they heard and sent shares of Foot Locker up 8.7 percent to $35.88 on Friday. 

The retailer’s third-quarter net profits fell 39 percent to $96 million, or $1.01 a share, from $158 million, or $1.52, a yr earlier. 

Adjusted earnings per share of $1.27 got here in 16 cents ahead of the $1.11 analysts projected. 

Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 29 slipped 0.7 percent to $2.17 billion from $2.19 billion a yr earlier and would have been up 3.3 percent without currency fluctuations. Comparable-store sales increased 0.8 percent. 

The quarter was strong enough to prompt the corporate to lift its earnings guidance for the yr, to $4.42 to $4.50 a share, up from the $4.25 to $4.45 previously projected.

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