Kickz Takeover

Zalando Heads for main street in sneakers

Christian Grosse Kickz 77295670 source Zalando
Kickz owner Mr. Grosse founded the company in 1993. Source: Zalando.

Zalando, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer and Germany’s most valuable retail group, is joining forces with Kickz, a Munich-based retailer of fashionable sneakers and basketball shoes in 15 shops across Germany.

For the rapidly-growing e-commerce company headquartered in Berlin, buying a company with actual stores is a new move. Its takeover of basketball-specialized Kickz should strengthen its sports and lifestyle business, according to co-CEO Rubin Ritter. “We’re investing in order to grow fast,” he added.

Zalando plans to create more than 2,000 new jobs this year and to invest €200 million, or $210 million. The retailer, which was floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange in 2014 and is listed on the MDax mid-cap index, is investing steadily in IT and logistics.

For Kickz, the takeover by Zalando will be highly beneficial. The company’s owner Christian Grosse will sell the firm he founded 23 years ago for an undisclosed sum. Zalando’s acquisition will be completed in the first half of the year.

Mr. Grosse will remain chief executive of Kickz, which has a “store concept that doesn’t even exist in New York yet,” as he puts it. Part of that concept includes limited editions and when these become available, it is not unusual for young fans to set up tents in front of Kickz stores before sales day. “Now we can expand our reach in one fell swoop,” Mr. Grosse said, with Zalando’s 20 million customers in mind.


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