J. W. Childs Acquires Shoe Sensation

J. W. Childs Acquires Shoe Sensation

shoe sensation nf1J.W. Childs Associates has acquired a majority interest in Shoe Sensation, a Midwest-based family footwear retailer. This acquisition is the third investment by J.W. Childs since the formation of J.W. Childs Equity Partners IV, LP in April 2014.

Shoe Sensation is a retailer of branded family footwear in small towns throughout the Midwest. The company operates more than 115 retail locations across 17 states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  Shoe Sensation has approximately 700 employees and operates a 50,000 square foot distribution center just north of Louisville in Jeffersonville, IN (headquarters).  The company was founded in 1984 and is led by its CEO, Mike Zawoysky (www.shoesensation.com).

According to J.W. Childs, Shoe Sensation is expanding its small town presence through an organic and strategic growth plan. This three-year strategy will increase the total store count to approximately 175 locations by the end of 2017.

Adam Suttin nf1“Shoe Sensation has an attractive business model that addresses the needs of residents in small communities for branded footwear, and the company is well-positioned for further growth within the steadily growing footwear industry,” said Adam Suttin, a Partner at J.W. Childs. “We look forward to working closely with the management team in support of their expansion as they continue to build upon their nearly 30-year heritage.”

J.W. Childs invests in middle market companies based in North America. Sectors of interest include consumer products, specialty retail and healthcare. The firm was founded in 1995 and is based west of Boston in Waltham, MA (www.jwchilds.com).

Three executives from J.W. Childs will join the Shoe Sensation Board of Directors: Partners Adam Suttin and William Watts and Vice President Hemanshu Patel.  Joseph Fortunato, a specialty retail executive and CEO of GNC from 2005 to 2014, will also join the Board.

Shoe Sensation had been a portfolio company of Palisade Capital Management (PCM) which invested $8.1 million in the company in December 2007. PCM has approximately $4.5 billion of assets under management and invests in small and mid-capitalization companies, convertible securities, convertible arbitrage, and private equity.  PCM was founded in 1995 and is headquartered near New York in Fort Lee, NJ (www.palisadecapital.com).

“Shoe Sensation has experienced over six consecutive years of comparable store revenue growth and, since 2010, has grown from 62 locations in 10 states to 115 stores in 17 states,” said Jeffrey Serkes, Chief Operating Officer of Palisade Capital. “It has been a pleasure working with the company’s management team over the past several years, as both they and Shoe Sensation’s employees have built a terrific culture that has the company poised for continued success.”

© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 8-4-15

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