In episode 329 of Total Retail Talks, Editor-in-Chief Joe Keenan interviews Tom Ripley, chairman and CEO of Lids, the largest licensed sports retailer in North America, selling fan and fashion-oriented headwear and apparel across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Ripley discusses his professional background, Lids' partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) to open its New York City flagship store, and the experiences waiting at the store for hockey fans.
In addition, Ripley shares how Lids' store operations expertise is an asset as more professional sports leagues push into experiential store spaces, how brick-and-mortar factors into the retailer's current and future planning, and how the business is diversifying its store portfolio. Ripley discusses how Lids identifies new markets and strategizes store offerings based on local demographics, how the company has become more agile to respond to new opportunities in real time, and the retail industry trends he's forecasting for 2022.
Tom Ripley is chairman and CEO of Lids and a partner and co-founder at Ames Watson, a private holding company. Prior to Ames Watson, Tom was the founder of Severn Partners, a private equity firm that acquired more than a dozen companies in the defense, retail, light manufacturing and service sectors. Over the past 18 years, Tom has developed extensive operating experience across more than two dozen different companies. Today, Tom serves as the chairman of Lids Sports Group. Tom started his career as an infantry and special operations officer in the United States Marine Corps. Tom graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a BA and a MBA from the University of Chicago. Tom lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and three children.