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Caleres Sees Vionic’s Potential

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Caleres, the Famous Footwear parent, which acquired Vionic for $360 million in mid-October, believes Vionic possesses significant growth potential in the premium comfort segment for men and women.

Category growth, gender growth and channels of distribution were among the opportunities that Caleres CEO and President Diane Sullivan pointed to in a recent call with analysts regarding Vionic’s opportunities. She noted that Vionic is “a growing brand with strong consumer loyalty and a great cultural fit to our brand portfolio.”

Said Sullivan, “Vionic has already proven to be a disruptive addition for the industry, and it’s been taking share of the growing premium contemporary comfort footwear category.”

Caleres’ existing infrastructure should benefit Vionic as it continues expanding its business, including into international channels. The profitable business currently has a seasonal product ratio of 55-45 spring to fall, said Caleres CFO Ken Hannah.

As for Famous Footwear in Q3, the retailer generated a 2.8 percent comparable store sales increase as total period revenues hit $448.8 million, and ecommerce sales grew 25 percent to represent 13 percent of all revenues. Women’s comps rose mid-single digits; sandals/boots were up low-double digits; lifestyle athletic sales increased high-single digits and kids and adult performance athletic comps jumped low-single digits.

“The overall environment continues to be more promotional and we responded as appropriate to drive business and attract more consumers,” said Sullivan. “Our actions included some aggressive testing of new promotions…”

The 1,007-door Famous Footwear banner, which generated a 4.5 comparable store sales increase in October, conducted both in-store and online promotions in Q3 as well as promotions on certain brands and categories to gauge customer reaction.

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