AW Lab, sport-style chain of stores part of the Bata Group, is boosting its plan of openings in Italy and abroad.

It has recently opened a new flagship store in Rome’s major shopping street, Via Del Corso, and will soon open a new similar flagship, in Milan’s city centre Via Torino, by mid-May 2015.
Future expansion plans also include the opening of about 40 more stores in Spain by 2018, to be later followed by expansion plans in other European countries.

AW Lab is a sport-style chain made up of 164 stores which originated under the name Athletes World in 1997. It includes direct stores and franchises which are all based in the commercial areas of major Italian cities including two other stores recently opened in Barcelona. At the end of 2011, AW Lab started a process of renaming, rebranding and a total renewal of the store layout and became a true trends laboratory, conceiving the "urban sport style" that will be completed by end 2015. All stores sell bestselling sneakers and sports apparel and accessories brands such as Nike, Adidas, Vans and Converse as well as special collaboration collections (also see here) and their two controlled apparel brands Two Of A Kind and Downup.
Matthew Cook, General Manager at AW LAB
Matthew Cook, General Manager at AW LAB

“AW Lab’s claim is ‘Play with Style’,” explained Matthew Cook, General Manager at AW LAB, whose past experiences include long time spent at brands such as Nike and Umbro. “Our whole company strategy, product selection, store design and consumer approach are based upon some key ideas such as, for instance, that we play with sports, music, technology, ... in our stores. Plus, our company and our stores operate like labs because we always experiment and test new ideas, products, cool store design and strategies.”

AW Lab is part of the Bata Group, a world leading company in the footwear business, which has more than 5,000 stores all over the world. AW Lab closed 2014 registering €135 million sales and a yearly growth of about 15-20% over the last five years. Out of their total sales 75% of the total comes from sneakers and the remaining 25% from apparel and accessories. AW Lab stores sell equally 50% to men and women, a ratio that is not common among stores selling similar product ranges.