Nike Veteran Joins Foot Locker to Lead WSS
Former Nike executive Blanca Gonzalez has been named senior vice president and general manager of Foot Locker’s WSS banner, effective May 15. Foot Locker acquired WSS, a U.S.-based athletic footwear and apparel retailer that primarily operates on the West Coast and focuses on serving Latino communities, for $750 million in September 2021. Formerly known as Warehouse Shoe Sale, WSS has 93 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
Gonzalez joins Foot Locker from Nike Inc., where she served as vice president of North America product merchandising. She brings 20 years of experience across various Nike leadership roles in marketing, merchandising and sales. Gonzalez also held a global merchandising role with lululemon athletica for a year. She will report directly to Frank Bracken, Foot Locker's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, and oversee the operations of WSS.
Total Retail's Take: Gonzalez would seem to be a great fit for this new role with Foot Locker, Inc.'s WSS banner. She has a deep background in the sneaker and footwear space from her years at Nike. Furthermore, she has an understanding of the markets where WSS is focused, as she was Nike’s vice president and general manager of Los Angeles and the West territory, which overlaps with where WSS stores are located. Lastly, Gonzalez's hiring reaffirms Foot Locker's commitment to serving the Latino community.
“WSS has proven to demonstrate a high level of cultural awareness that honors and respects the richness of the Latino experience,” Gonzalez said in a statement, adding that the company will build on this relationship and grow the WSS brand.
Gonzalez is one of several new executives to have joined Foot Locker since former Ulta CEO Mary Dillon arrived as chief executive last year.
Related story: Foot Locker Launches Long-Term Strategy to Grow Business
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.