Riata Capital Group Invests in WSS

Riata Capital Group Invests in WSS

wss-nf1Riata Capital Group has completed the recapitalization of WSS, a Hispanic-focused specialty retailer of athletic, fashion, and work-related footwear and accessories.

Example of a WSS retail store
Example of a WSS retail store

WSS sells a full assortment of athletic footwear brands (including Nike, Jordan, Vans, Converse, Adidas, Skechers, Fila and Reebok) and private label footwear for women and men. The company presently operates 76 stores located in underserved, predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in California, Arizona, and Nevada. WSS (originally Warehouse Shoe Sale) was founded in 1984 by entrepreneur Eric Alon (he began the company by selling shoes out of the trunk of his car throughout neighborhoods in Los Angeles). Today, WSS has more than 1,300 employees and is headquartered in Los Angeles (www.shopwss.com).

WSS is led by its President Richard (Rick) Mina who joined the company in November 2015. Mr. Mina is a veteran footwear executive with more than three decades of experience. Before joining WSS he held a number of senior management positions including CEO of Foot Locker North America, CEO of Foot Locker Europe, and president and CEO of Champs Sports.

barron-fletcher-nf1“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,” said Barron Fletcher, Co-Managing Partner of Riata. “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.”

riata-nf1Riata Capital Group makes both control and non-control equity investments of $10 million to $50 million in private companies in four industry sectors: consumer, energy, healthcare, and business & industrial services. The firm will invest throughout North America but prefers investments in the Southwest region. Riata was founded in January 2015 by Jeff Fronterhouse, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Brazos Private Equity Partners, and Barron Fletcher, Founder and Managing Partner of Parallel Investment Partners.  The firm is based in Dallas (www.riatacapital.com).

“We are excited to have Riata as our investment partner,” said Mr. Mina. “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.”

“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,” said Mr. Alon.

© 2016 Private Equity Professional | December 12, 2016

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