Genesco buys licensed sports clothing chain

Lids division fills out Ohio, Kentucky store network

The Lids Sports Group owned by Genesco has acquired an Ohio-based chain of licensed sports clothing and novelties stores.

Cardboard Heroes runs 19 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, including four Buckeye Room stores that specialize in Ohio State University sports merchandise. (Genesco and OSU earlier this year signed a 10-year retail deal.) Cardboard Heroes also runs the cheroes.com and buckeyeroom.com websites.

“The recent acquisition of Cardboard Heroes allows us to further enhance our retail presence in Ohio and Kentucky, as well as expand our reach online through its various e-commerce platforms,” said Ken Kocher, president of Lids Sports Group. “These new locations tie in well with our sports retail focus and allow us to provide additional licensed sports merchandise that complements our existing Buckeye Corner and Fan Outfitter locations in the region.”

Lids runs almost 1,000 headwear stores as well as more than 200 general sports fan and team-specific stores across North America. During Genesco's 2014 fiscal year, the division accounted for 31 percent of total sales and $63.7 million of its $163 million in operating income.

Shares of Genesco (Ticker: GCO) rose about 2 percent Thursday to close at $74.85. They're up slightly year to date.