Foot Locker hires Nike veteran to lead banner

Marianne Wilson
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Blanca Gonzalez Foot Locker
Foot Locker has named Blanca Gonzalez as senior VP and general manager of its WSS banner.

A 19-year Nike veteran has been tapped to head up a Foot Locker banner that serves the Hispanic community.

The athletic footwear and apparel retailer has named Blanca Gonzalez as senior VP and general manager of its WSS banner, effective May 15.  WSS which was acquired by Foot Locker for $750 million in 2021, operates more than 90 neighborhood stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada, and serves a largely Hispanic consumer base.

Gonzalez was most recently with Nike Inc., where she spent 19 years, most recently as VP of North America product merchandising. She also served in various Nike leadership roles in marketing, merchandising and sales. (Gonzalez left Nike in February 2021 to become senior VP, global merchandising at Lululemon. But she returned to Nike one year later, in February 2022.) 

Gonzalez will oversee the operations of WSS, helping scale it to become Foot Locker’s next $1 billion brand. She will report directly to Frank Bracken, executive VP and chief commercial officer, and

“Blanca’s vast knowledge of the sneaker industry attained throughout her tenure with our great partner Nike will be an incredible asset to our WSS business, which has tremendous potential,” said Bracken. “Blanca’s remarkable experience, understanding of our diverse customers, and personal roots within WSS’s home turf will help deepen our relationships within communities and expand WSS’s unique offering of culturally connected experiences.”

In March, Dillon, who became CEO of Foot Locker in September 2022, launched the chain’s “Lace-Up” strategy, with a goal of growing sales to $9.5 billion by 2026. The plan includes a shift to off-mall locations and opening new formats.

In a release, Foot Locker said that Gonzalez’s personal ties to the Latino community “will strengthen our connection and expand WSS’s unique offering of culturally relevant experiences.”

“I have watched WSS grow its footprint in Latino communities by investing in authentic and culturally relevant touch points with its customers,” said Gonzalez. “WSS has proven to demonstrate a high level of cultural awareness that honors and respects the richness of the Latino experience. 

With approximately 2,700 retail stores in 29 countries across North AmericaEuropeAsia, Australia, and New Zealand, and a franchised store presence in the Middle East and Asia, Foot Locker has a portfolio of brands, that include Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, WSS and atmos.