Wolverine purchases Chaco

January 22, 2009
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ROCKFORD — Wolverine World Wide Inc. has acquired Colorado-based Chaco, a performance outdoor footwear brand said to have a unique heritage and strong consumer following. The purchase includes ULU, a premium brand of “fashionable performance” winter boots. Wolverine did not disclose terms of the transaction.

Chaco was established in 1989 with whitewater enthusiasts as its target market. The brand quickly grew to be a market leader in sandals sold through the specialty outdoor retail channel. According to Wolverine, Chaco footwear is recognized and well-respected for its BioCentric footbed and its adjustability, durability and unique performance characteristics. The brand had global revenue of more than $20 million in 2008, with the United States market representing nearly 90 percent of global sales.

In today’s press release, the company indicated that the acquisition represents an “excellent” opportunity for Wolverine to leverage its world-class sourcing and logistics infrastructure, building upon Chaco’s leadership in the U.S. market while at the same time expanding its business internationally. All Chaco employees will continue employment with the brand as the integration is executed. Chaco will become part of Wolverine’s Outdoor Group, which also includes the Merrell and Patagonia Footwear brands.

“Chaco’s leadership in the outdoor market, particularly in the sandal market, makes it a natural fit for our company, and we believe the brand will immediately benefit from Wolverine's established global brand-building expertise, distribution network and logistics infrastructure,” stated Wolverine President and CEO Blake Krueger.

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