Foot Locker CEO Ken Hicks to retire next month and be replaced by COO Richard Johnson

Foot Locker Chief Operating Officer Richard Johnson will take over as CEO next month.

The athletic shoe and apparel company announced the retirement Tuesday of Ken Hicks, the former J.C. Penney Co. executive who was named to the top job at Foot Locker five years ago.

Johnson, 56, has worked at the athletic shoe and apparel retailer since 1997, and was named COO in 2012.

Hicks will remain with the company through the first fiscal quarter of next year to help in the transition.

The New York company operates 3,460 stores around the world under Foot Locker, Footaction, Lady Foot Locker and Champs Sports brands.

Shares of Foot Locker Inc. are up about 36 percent since the beginning of the year.