Retail News : Golden Viking Sports, the exclusive U.S. licensee of Diadora , was acquired by Canada-based sporting goods wholesaler INA International.

Golden Viking Sports, LLC, which for the past three years has been the exclusive U.S. licensee of Diadora soccer footwear, apparel and accessories, was acquired by Canada-based sporting goods wholesaler INA International on July 1. The deal gives INA the North American license for Diadora and provides a strategic platform to service existing customers and to expand the Diadora brand, along with all other owned and licensed brands, in the U.S. market. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

INA, which prior to the agreement held the license for the Diadora brand in Canada, is a division of FGL Sports Ltd. (FGL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Tire Corporation. Golden Viking Sports (GVS) is now a wholly owned subsidiary of INA and will remain headquartered in Kent, WA. GVS’ management team, sales force and operations will stay in place, and William Nuttall, who previously served as president of GVS, is now the division’s vice president of sales and operations. He reports directly to Vice President of INA International and FGL Wholesale Tom Sampson. Sampson and Rick White, FGL’s chief merchandising officer and senior vice president, are the new principals of GVS.

“INA has been very active in the U.S. wholesale market over the past 10 years and the GVS acquisition gives us a strong platform to support our growing business and to allow us to introduce our full assortment of brands,” said Sampson.

With GVS now in the fold, INA is ready to put its U.S. growth strategy into action. The key is to leverage GVS’ existing business, operations and warehousing platform to substantially expand Diadora’s product offerings and to bring a greater assortment of owned and licensed brands into the U.S. market. For Diadora, the focus will be to continue to expand the soccer collection that already boasts a long history and authentic heritage. Additionally, casual and lifestyle footwear, along with cycling products, represent strong growth areas. In fact, Diadora Cycling will exhibit at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, NV, this September.

“The GVS acquisition by INA will provide the support needed to make the Diadora brand a strong competitor in North America,” said Nuttall. “GVS will take a very aggressive approach for the Diadora brand extension, and we’re excited to be part of a strong wholesale provider to the U.S. market.” He added, “For GVS, this new growth opportunity will allow us expand our warehouse space, hire more people, and get more brands to distribute.”

White concluded, “As INA ramps up its growth in the U.S., GVS is a commitment to our existing customers that we will continue to provide the best product and service available.”

INA International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada-based FGL Sports Ltd., formerly The Forzani Group Ltd.

(SportsOneSource Media )

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