Phoenix-based Leslie’s Poolmart has acquired e-tailer Pool Supply World in an effort to strengthen the chain store’s online initiative.

Pool Supply World will operate as a division of Leslie’s, maintaining its brand led by its CEO, Mark Krueger, according to a press release.

Industry watchers speculate Leslie’s made the move because its existing website wasn’t competing with some of the major online pool products dealers.

“Leslie’s greatest weakness was its website,” said Cal Boothby, past chairman of the APSP Retail Council. “They were not the ones popping up if you searched for something online. It would be Pool Supply World or some other company.”

As the industry’s largest pool and spa retailer, Leslie’s has been aggressively expanding its presence across the United States and currently has more than 800 locations. However, its online clout lagged behind, experts said.

One industry insider said Leslie’s was a relative latecomer to the e-commerce game. It sold products online for the same prices you’d find in the stores — thus there was no advantage to buying from

In a statement, CEO Larry Hayward said the acquisition of Pool Supply World comes with the technology and expertise to improve the company’s omnichannel initiatives.

“That makes perfect sense to me because from Leslie’s point of view, why reinvent the wheel when someone has already done it well?” said Daniel Harrison, owner of Las Vegas-based

“Easier for them to acquire an existing, well-run e-commerce company than try to rebuild one from scratch.”

Founded in 2005, Pool Supply World has its headquarters in Roseville, Calif., and warehouses in Louisville, Ky.; Chicago; Sacramento, Calif.; and Philadelphia.