Foot Locker to buy two shoe store chains for $1.1 bln

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People queue during Black Friday sales in front of a Foot Locker shoe store, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Zurich, Switzerland November 27, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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Aug 2 (Reuters) - Foot Locker Inc (FL.N) will buy two smaller shoe store chains for a total of about $1.1 billion in cash, the footwear retailer said on Monday as it looks to expand its business beyond malls and extend its reach in Asia.

The company is buying California-based WSS for $750 million and Japanese streetwear retailer Atmos for $360 million, it said in separate statements.

Pent-up demand for sneakers and athletic gear from U.S. shoppers, as well as government stimulus have boosted Foot Locker's sales this year, but the company has said it was looking to focus beyond malls whose traffic has been pressured by the pandemic and a surge in online shopping.

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WSS has a fleet of 93 off-mall stores across California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada, and has a largely Hispanic consumer base which Foot Locker is looking to tap into.

Atmos, which has most of its 49 stores in Japan, is popular for its collection of special edition footwear in collaboration with brands including Nike Inc (NKE.N).

WSS and Atmos will continue to operate under their own names. Both the deals, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, will be funded through available cash, Foot Locker said.

Evercore served as financial adviser to Foot Locker on both the deals, while RW Baird advised WSS.

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Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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