Riata Capital Group (“Riata”) today announced that it has completed the recapitalization of West Coast-based WSS, a category-leading, Hispanic-focused specialty retailer of athletic, fashion, and work-related footwear and accessories. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1984 by entrepreneur Eric Alon and headquartered in Los Angeles, WSS offers customers a full assortment of the leading athletic footwear brands (including Nike, Jordan, Vans, Converse, Adidas, Skechers, Fila and Reebok) and private footwear offerings in fashion for women and workwear for men. After years of successful growth, WSS currently operates 76 destination stores located in underserved, predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Barron Fletcher, Co-Managing Partner of Riata, said, “We have been impressed by the unique platform that Eric Alon, Rick Mina and their team have built in WSS, creating a retail experience with real differentiation within its marketplace. Their core predominantly Hispanic customer continues to be underserved in the athletic and overall footwear retail space. We have been evaluating Hispanic-facing consumer platforms for some time now and believe WSS provides a unique opportunity to invest in a high growth, category-leading platform serving this important consumer segment. Additionally, based on our team’s experience investing in and building other leading athletic retail platforms, including Hibbett Sports, Lids and Moosejaw, and our Texas roots, we have a great deal to offer WSS as their investment partner. We look forward to contributing to WSS’s continued growth in existing markets and their successful entry into new ones.”
Regarding Riata’s investment, Rick Mina, President of WSS, said, “We are excited to have Riata as our investment partner. Their capital and strategic resources will enhance our team’s ability to continue growing our brand and our business over the next several years. Riata’s team has a long, successful history with specialty retail equity investments, and we anticipate gaining significant benefits from their experience.”
Mr. Alon said, “Our partnership with Riata allows us to position the WSS brand name for continued and steadied growth in existing and new markets while maintaining our DNA, which has been one of the catalysts of our current and future success.”
Other recent successes for the WSS include the launch of its flagship store in downtown Los Angeles, the featuring of key elevated brand shop-in-shop areas within their 11,000 square foot stores, and the successful expansion into Arizona and Nevada.
About Riata Capital Group
Riata Capital Group is a leading Dallas-based private equity investment firm that partners with seasoned management teams to invest in growing, profitable, privately-held companies across North America with a focus on four core industry sectors: consumer, energy, healthcare, and business solutions. The firm takes a selective approach to investing in high-potential businesses whose owners and management teams want an investment partner with the capital, experience, and record of successful collaboration required to achieve their liquidity and value-creation objectives. Over the course of their careers, the principals of Riata have sponsored over 55 platform investments and 75 add-on acquisitions representing over $4 billion in transaction value. With significant investment experience, a balanced team with financial and operating expertise, a strong team of seasoned operating partners, and significant experience in the firm’s core sectors, Riata provides a compelling value proposition to business owners and entrepreneurs.
WSS is a Hispanic-focused specialty retailer in the U.S. doing business in neighborhood-based stores. Consumers trust WSS for the best brands, greatest values and largest selection of athletic, dress, fashion and casual footwear for the entire family. WSS’s large store format enables the Company to showcase thousands of styles from top name brands like Nike, Jordan, Vans, Converse, Adidas, Puma, and Skechers. In addition, WSS carries high quality private brands augmenting the breadth of selection to deliver amazing value to its customers. Founded in Southern California in 1984 by entrepreneur Eric Alon, all WSS stores feature a unique retail format that displays every style and size allowing customers to browse on their own terms, in a hassle-free environment, engaging the friendly and knowledgeable sales staff when they choose. The success of this business model has allowed WSS to continue its rapid expansion into new markets. WSS is committed to giving back to the communities they serve, sponsoring or participating in over 350 local events each year. Stay connected with WSS via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at www.ShopWSS.com.