Genesco-owned Lids, the largest brick-and-mortar retailer of licensed sports apparel, has been sold for $100M to Ames Watson Capital, the owner of the Fanzz retail chain. Fanatics will be a minority owner. Ames Watson Capital has launched FanzzLids Holdings to operate Lids. Sources said Fanatics put up around 10% of the $100M and is solely interested in operating e-commerce for Lids. Most of the more than 1,100 Lids locations are located in shopping malls. Fanzz has around 120 stores. Fanatics officials would not comment. The sale continues the trend of retail consolidation, particularly in the sporting-goods sector. “Most people would think that Fanatics would never buy a brick-and-mortar retailer and they originally rejected the opportunity to buy Lids entirely as not strategic,” said a source. “But a relatively small strategic investment locking up their e-commerce and a fair amount of wholesale business for Fanatics makes a lot of sense, when you remember that 70% of licensed (sales) is still brick-and-mortar.” Some unanswered questions around the sale include how many stores will remain under the new Lids/Fanzz entity, which retail nameplate survives (likely Lids), and how the sale will impact the largest manufacturers of licensed caps: New Era, and ‘47 Brand. Each was a rumored buyer or investor in Lids, since the company announced it was for sale in February.
Dallas-based ClubCorp has "purchased controlling interest in an Illinois firm that runs a Topgolf-like operation called BigShots," according to Karen Robinson-Jacobs of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Terms were "not disclosed, and so far there's only one freestanding BigShots location in Vero Beach, Fla." But the move gives ClubCorp a "toehold in a segment of the game that attracts millennials and is gaining attention." The company "operates 164 golf and country clubs across the country." ClubCorp CEO David Pillsbury said, "We're doing this to broaden our base (and) create more opportunities for people to get introduced to the game." Robinson-Jacobs noted the move gives the company a way to "fend off Topgolf, which also is a Dallas company." BigShots Golf "provides competitive games and simulated golf course play along with the ability to use a virtual practice facility." ClubCorp plans to "incorporate BigShots technology into some of its courses by bringing BigShots Golf and BigShots Golf Indoor Simulators to some sites starting next year." Pillsbury said that this could "allow venues from sports bars to retailers to include a BigShots feature." ClubCorp also plans to "offer freestanding outdoor BigShots franchises beginning in January at locations to be determined" (DALLASNEWS.com, 12/12).