Foot Locker wants to make sure younger citizens vote this year, and it is putting its retail heft behind that wish.
Food Locker said it has joined Rock the Vote's Brands for Democracy, an initiative it bills as a nonpartisan effort to empower eligible voters to take civic action. The upshot? Foot Locker will use its stores as voting registration sites.
Beginning next week, and aligning with "National Voter Registration Day" on Sept. 22, visitors to any U.S. retail location within the Foot Locker family of brands will have 'one-click' access to a digital hub, where they can check their voter registration status, register to vote and sign-up for election reminders.
Foot Locker is not the only retail chain supporting such a program. For example, Banana Republic has also teamed with Rock the Vote to drive voter registrations. In fact, Banana Republic will sell face masks that have messaging encouraging voting as registration deadlines approach for the Nov. 3 election.
As Foot Locker puts it, more than 4 million young people are eligible to vote for the first time this November. The retailer’s partnership with Rock the Vote will leverage the family of brand's distinct relationship with Gen Z consumers. On Instagram alone, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction, and Eastbay have a cumulative following of 4.3 million consumers ages 18-24.
As of the end of August, Rock the Vote's platform had registered 870,000 new voters this year, compared to 826,000 registrations total in 2018, an increase so far of 5.3%. The numbers are also a significant increase from this point in the 2016 presidential election year, when Rock the Vote's platform had registered 550,000 voters.
"In a year marked with such uncertainty, amid a pandemic and social unrest, our country's future – and our collective role in shaping it – has never been more important," said Richard Johnson, Footlocker chairman and CEO. “At Foot Locker, our mission is to inspire and empower youth culture, so partnering with Rock the Vote was a natural fit to help educate and amplify the voices of today's youth."
In addition to providing information and access to consumers, Foot Locker said it is also committed to supporting its employees as they vote. The family of brands will provide worktime flexibility and resources to allow corporate and store team members in the U.S. to exercise their right to vote leading up to and on Election Day.
“The Foot Locker family of brands reach millions of young people every day, giving them a tremendous platform to empower this generation with the information they need to vote in this election," said Carolyn DeWitt, the president of Rock the Vote. "We, at Rock the Vote, are eager to leverage their longstanding, trusted relationship with America's youth generation to ensure their voices are heard."
Other retailers are also making election day special this year, at least for workers. Nordstrom, for instance, is joining other retailers in launching voter awareness projects, but is going one step further by making Election Day a holiday for employees. The company is making Nov. 3 a holiday for all employees and will work with employees to set schedules that will enable them to get to the polls. Stores and operations centers will remain open on that day.