Zumiez buys European sports retailer

  • Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, June 19, 2012 6:09am

EVERETT — Zumiez Inc. has signed a $75 million deal to buy Blue Tomato, a European action sports retailer.

The Everett-based Zumiez, a retailer of sports apparel, footwear and accessories for teenagers, announced the deal Tuesday. In addition to the purchase price, Zumiez also will pay an additional $27.8 million contingent on achieving certain performance goals over the next three years.

“Joining forces with Blue Tomato represents the next step in our strategic plan to build the leading global action sports retail business,” Rick Brooks, CEO of Zumiez, said in a statement.

Zumiez’ shares were up more than 5 percent Tuesday in early morning trading.

Based in Austria, Blue Tomato was founded in 1988 by European snowboard champion Gerfried Schuller. The company operates a robust sports retail website, which is available in 14 languages, and also operates five stores in Austria. Blue Tomato has an extensive selection of snow and skate goods and apparel.

“We have built the leading action sports retail company in Europe and now we will be a part of the leading action sports retailer in the United States,” Blue Tomato’s Schuller said.

Blue Tomato will continue to be headquartered in Austria. Senior managers of the company will be led by Schuller.

For the fiscal year ending April 30, Blue Tomato reported a sales increase of 27 percent to $37 million. Roughly 75 percent of those sales came through Blue Tomato’s website. Blue Tomato’s net income for the year ending April 30 was about $4.4 million.

“Europe has a large, vibrant and growing action sports community, which Gerfried (Schuller) and his team have skillfully tapped into through a broad offering of authentic brands and products, a differentiated retail experience, and superior customer service,” Zumiez’ Brooks said.

Through Zumiez and Blue Tomato’s combined expertise, Brooks suggested the company will be able to “support future international development.”

Zumiez also increased its earnings forecast for 2012. The retailer expects sales to increase about $2 million to $136 million, assuming the Blue Tomato deal closes by July 1. Net income per diluted share will increase from 4 cents to 6 cents.

Zumiez recently moved its e-commerce operations from Everett to Kansas. The company also plans to move out of its Everett headquarters to a new location in Lynnwood by the end of June.

As of May 26, Zumiez operated 448 stores in the United States and 11 stores in Canada.

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