Phoenix construction firm Shasta Pools & Spas has agreed to sell its retail outlets to Leslie’s Poolmart Inc.
The transaction is expected to close in February. In addition, the
two firms have referred to their relationship as a loose alliance,
with the companies planning to collaborate in other ways that have
yet to be defined.
The sale of the six stores means an exit from retailing for Shasta,
one of the nation’s largest pool builders and No. 5 on the
Pool & Spa News Top 50 Builders list.
In fact, the company’s dominance in construction is a part of
why Shasta is leaving retailing.
“In every area of our company, we’re either No. 1 or a
very close No. 2,” explained Steve Ast, vice president of
sales and marketing at Shasta. “In retail, unless there was a
tremendous amount of resources put into that effort, we just
didn’t see the viability of branching out and expanding that
[part of the] business.”
Leslie’s plans to keep all six Shasta branches open and
retain the existing staff. “We are really excited to have
their employees on board, and they’ll fit well with
us,” said Larry Hayward, CEO of Leslie’s, also based in
Rick Mortensen, Shasta’s director of retail and customer care
operations, will remain on board with the construction firm.
Though the sale is expected to finalize next month, the
stores’ branding will be folded into the Leslie’s
network gradually, Hayward said.
“They do a lot of things really well, and we want to take the
time to understand what they’re doing. And we’ll pick
some things up from them, too,” Hayward said. He added that
Shasta had built the pools of many of its retail customers, which
created longtime, loyal relationships in the retail stores.
For Leslie’s, the move is part of an ongoing aggressive
strategy that combines acquisitions with organic growth.
“We’ll build and put online over 60 new stores this
year,” Hayward said. “And we will continue to look for
strategic acquisitions that make sense. We’re growing pretty
much straight across the board. We’re putting new stores in
Florida, Texas, the Northeast, California and throughout the
The Shasta transaction marks the retailer’s third acquisition
in 16 months. In August 2011, Leslie’s bought Jasper’s
Clear Pool Wholesale Supply Co., a Phoenix-based supplier and
service firm geared to the commercial market. In September 2010, it
acquired Solutions by Self Chem, an Austin-area retailer.
The growth of Leslie’s has been fueled by funds from
London-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, which
purchased an undisclosed number of minority shares in 2010. The
firm currently has 750 stores in 35 states. It sees a revenue of
approximately $522 million per year and employs 3,300, according to
CVC Capital Partners.