The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) has announced Matt Lafone as its new president and general manager of Americas (North, South and Central America). The veteran retail executive will start immediately, reporting directly to TAF’s new owner and global executive chairman, Param Singh.
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Matt Lafone, President and General Manager, The Athlete’s Foot Americas (Photo: Business Wire)
Lafone will be responsible for providing leadership, strategic and operational guidance to the Americas team with the goals of driving profitable growth, building brand equity, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Lafone’s work will support TAF’s new strategic vision, set by Singh, that builds on the brand’s success in recent years. Globally, TAF retail sales are on target to hit $500M in 2021 and have seen robust growth above 40% in the first six months of 2021 vs 2020 and 14% above sales in 2019.
Lafone joins TAF with strong experience across branding, retail, merchandising, marketing and franchising. Prior to TAF, Lafone was COO for Payless ShoeSource where he oversaw design, development, supply chain, marketing and franchising for its 750 international stores.
Prior to Payless, Lafone held the role of vice president of sport style with Puma where he was responsible for driving wholesale revenue leading sales, planning, marketing and merchandising strategies.
“Matt is well known in the industry as a fantastic leader, execution-focused operator and transparent communicator. He’s also perfectly aligned with the values of our organization and firmly committed to the future success of the company,” said Singh, whose company, Arklyz Group, acquired TAF in July after a long-term partnership with its previous parent company, Intersport.
Singh adds: “While The Athlete’s Foot is without a doubt a global company, the U.S. and the Americas are critical to our foundation and our future, and I am confident that with Matt’s leadership we can continue to grow this well-respected legacy brand into a global powerhouse.”
This year marks TAF’s 50th anniversary, which will be celebrated globally beginning this September, highlighted by commemorative product launches, events and a 50th anniversary documentary.
TAF also recently launched StAART, the Strategic African American Retail Track, an initiative to grow diversity and representation in the sneaker industry through franchising.
The Athlete’s Foot has 564 stores and e-commerce shops across 32 countries which generated sales of USD 400 million in 2020. www.theathletesfoot.com