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Hat World acquires New York sporting goods dealer

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Hat World Inc., a retailer and manufacturer of sports hats and apparel, announced Thursday that it has purchased New York-based Anaconda Sports Inc., one of the largest independent team sporting goods dealers in the country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Indianapolis-based Hat World said the acquisition falls within its LIDS Team Sports division and includes Anaconda Sports’ corporate office and distribution center in Lake Katrine, N.Y., as well as its production assets. Anaconda also operates a direct-mail catalogue and e-commerce website.

The purchase is part of a strategy by Hat World parent Genesco Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., to expand beyond hat retailing into two new segments—licensed sports apparel and team-sports equipment—and benefit from the synergies among them.

LIDS used last year’s $14 million purchase of the 37-store Sports Fan-Attic Inc. to launch LIDS Locker Room, its licensed sports apparel unit. And in May, the company agreed to purchase the 46-store Sports Avenue. It operates traditional licensed-sports apparel stores, as well as team stores for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and others.

“The addition of Anaconda Sports is the latest example of LIDS’ intent to grow its brand through the team dealer channel,” Hat World President Kenneth J. Kocher said in a prepared statement. “The diversity within the Anaconda Sports business, its excellent reputation for the quality of its products and services, and on-time delivery match up well with LIDS Team Sports’ existing initiatives.”

Anaconda Sports’ exclusive licensed properties include Babe Ruth League of North America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Police Athletic League, Men’s Senior/Adult Baseball League and Senior Softball USA.

Hat World is comprised of three business units—the LIDS retail headwear stores, the LIDS Locker Room specialty fan retail chain, and the LIDS Team Sports wholesale business.

In June, Hat World announced its plans to expand its local headquarters and distribution operations, creating as many as 571 jobs by 2015.

The company said it expects to invest up to $22 million to lease and prepare additional space locally as it consolidates manufacturing and warehouse operations from Wisconsin.

Hat World’s 300 local employees currently work out of 195,000 square feet of leased space in Park 100 on the city’s northwest side. Hiring of additional workers was expected to begin this summer as new operations are phased in locally.

Founded in Lafayette in 1995, Hat World later moved to Indianapolis before being acquired by Genesco in 2004. The company operates more than 900 retail stores in 48 states.
 

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