Atlanta — The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) has named Matt Lafone as its new president and general manager of Americas. The veteran retail executive will start immediately, managing operations in North, South and Central America, and will report directly to the company’s new owner and global executive chairman, Param Singh. Lafone joins The Athlete’s Foot from Payless ShoeSource.
Lafone will be responsible for providing leadership, strategic and operational guidance to the Americas team with the goals of driving profitable growth, building brand equity and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Globally, TAF retail sales are on target to hit $500 million in 2021 and have seen robust growth above 40% in the first 6 months of 2021 vs. 2020 and 14% above sales in 2019.
Lafone comes to The Athlete’s Foot with strong experience across branding, retail, merchandising, marketing and franchising. Prior to The Athlete’s Foot, he was chief operating officer for Payless ShoeSource where he oversaw design, development, supply chain, marketing and franchising for its 750 international stores.
Prior to Payless, Lafone was vice president of sport style with Puma.
“Matt is well known in the industry as a fantastic leader, execution-focused operator and transparent communicator. He’s also perfectly aligned with the values of our organization and firmly committed to the future success of the company,” says Singh, whose company, Arklyz Group, acquired The Athlete’s Foot in July after a long term partnership with TAF’s previous parent company, Intersport.
Lafone joins The Athlete’s Foot as it marks its 50th anniversary. The sneaker and streetwear chain has 564 stores and e-commerce shops in 32 countries. For more information, visit www.theathletesfoot.com.
SOURCE: The Athlete’s Foot