The LIDS Sports Group, operating within Hat World, Inc., is comprised of the LIDS retail headwear stores, the LIDS Locker Room specialty fan retail chain, the LIDS Clubhouse retail stores, the LIDS Team Sports wholesale team sports business and the Internet businesses, www.lids.com, www.lidslockerroom.com, www.lidsclubhouse.com, www.lidsteamsports.com, and www.lids.ca . Operating out of Indianapolis, Indiana, the retail businesses make up more than 1,000 mall-based, airport, street level and factory outlet locations nationwide, and in Canada and Puerto Rico. LIDS retail stores offer officially licensed and branded headwear of collegiate teams, major professional sports teams, as well as other specialty fashion categories in the latest styles and colors. LIDS Locker Room is a mall-based retailer of sports headwear, apparel, accessories, and novelties which also operates under the Sports Fan-Attic and Sports Avenue retail concepts. Most LIDS and LIDS Locker Room stores also offer custom embroidery capability. LIDS Clubhouse operates team-specific professional sports and university athletics retail stores and e-commerce websites. LIDS Team Sports is a full-service team uniform and apparel dealer, custom screen printer, embroidery and sporting goods distributor. Hat World, Inc. is a subsidiary of Genesco Inc.
A Company History
"Everybody either went to college, or follows a college or professional sports team. Likewise, everybody has $20. A hat is clearly an impulse buy, but one that people can afford."
That is how Glenn Campbell summarized his, and partner Scott Molanderís idea for Hat World, Inc. in the early 1990s. They were right. Today, the Indianapolis-based company is the specialty retail leader in fashion athletic headwear, team apparel and other fan novelties operating as LIDS.
After working as successful athletic retail store managers, Campbell and Molander decided to start their own business after identifying baseball-style caps as an undervalued niche in mall retail.
"When we spoke with shopping mall executives about how we were convinced everybody needs or can be persuaded to buy a hat, we were told that we were nuts," said Campbell. "But if a cookie shop can just sell cookies or a pretzel shop can just sell pretzels, why not hats?"
Finally, a shopping mall in Lafayette, Indiana gave Campbell and Molander their shot from which they sold more than 6,000 hats during the 1995 holiday season. With that successful holiday season behind them the duo acquired a modest private financial placement and opened five more stores their first full year. After growing to 157 stores in five years, Hat World, Inc. acquired its largest competitor, LIDS Corporation, in 2001. With the purchase of LIDS, the Company grew to more than 400 stores and an e-commerce channel (lids.com).
In 2004, Nashville, Tennessee-based and publically traded Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) acquired Hat World, Inc. The Company has continued to grow through new stores and acquisitions. Hat World's other retail acquisitions include Hat Zone in 2002, Cap Factory (2003), Canadian hat retailers Cap Connection and Head Quarters (2004), Hat Shack (2006), and Sports Fan-Attic (2009). In addition, in 2009 the Company acquired team uniform, apparel and equipment dealers, custom screen printers and embroidery operators Impact Sports and Great Plains Sports. This was followed by the acquisitions of regional team sports dealers Brand Athletics (2010) and Anaconda Sports (2010).
"The idea for Hat World was just that, an idea," summarized LIDS President Ken Kocher. "Our success stems from assembling a team of first-class professionals who stay on top of the wants of the consumer and put customer service first."