The Athlete's Foot (TAF) commenced operations in Australia under licence from a US-based master franchisor. As the years passed, The Athlete's Foot had less and less to do with the master franchisor, and the Australian business model diverged extensively from that of The Athlete’s Foot stores in other countries.
The business formed a dedicated and experienced management team led by Michael Cooper, who has been Managing Director since 2002 and has been with the company since 1988. The six most senior executives in the business, have a combined tenure of over 80 years with the business and are as passionate about the business today as they have ever been.
2004 - 2006
The Athlete's Foot is bought by ASX listed company RCG Corporation Limited (“RCG”). In late 2006, RCG underwent a board transformation, and as of today, now owns several different footwear businesses of which The Athlete's Foot is the largest, including Merrell, Saucony, Sperry Topsider, Cushe & Cat.
TAF opens the first of its new larger format, concept stores. The new store format incorporates an extended product ranges in kids, comfort, lifestyle and work/duty footwear.
As with all existing The Athlete's Foot categories, the focus is on credible, proven footwear brands sold on function and fit. The new model has been an incredible success and there are now over 60 large format stores open. The larger format model is now the new standard for all The Athlete's Foot stores, with the intention to convert all stores to the larger format over time.
The Athlete's Foot purchased a 249 year brand licence for Australia and New Zealand, effectively severing ties with the licensor.
TAF launches their e-commerce store with a virtual footwear finder. Today, their redesigned online site features web pages for all stores, CLICK AND COLLECT (web to store) and an ongoing focus on social integration with their ambassadors and local store teams.
TAF launches their new and largest concept store in Warringah Mall, NSW. Featuring a store in store concept, new layout and introduction of an extended range for customers.
FITZI(R), the world's most comprehensive fit technology solution is launched in all stores to replace the 10 year old FITPRINT(R) fitting system. FITZI(R) was two years in the making, and with over 4,000 sensors, helps TAF technicians to analyse pressure, gait, foot type and foot shape.
At the same time, the FIT GUARANTEE is launched - assuring all customers of a 30 day refit offer for any new or worn shoes, reiterating the confidence in the team's fitting abilities with their ongoing training and the new FITZI(R) technology in stores.
The Athlete's Foot Australia operates online & through 138 stores, most of which are franchised across Australia and New Zealand. It is still the largest retailer of athletic footwear in Australia stocking over 50 brands across the stores.
The business is not solely athletic footwear focused, with a growing percentage of its total sales now achieved in the comfort and lifestyle footwear categories.