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DSW Leaning into Top Brands, Kids and Athleisure


Designer Brands-owned retailer DSW says increased penetration of its Top 50 brands has carried more weight with its customers and enabled it to have more regular and less promotional selling. DSW generated significant growth in kids and athleisure products in the July-August timeframe, according to the NPD Group, as Q3 comps for 60 percent of the chain’s athletic labels comped above 25 percent from Q3/19. Athleisure penetration was 50 percent during the period versus 30 percent in Q3/19, and Kids’ footwear sales comped up 44 percent. Meanwhile, Men’s athletic represented 8 percent of DSW’s Q3 revenues versus 6 percent in Q3/19 as regular price selling over the same period increased 56 percent. But the retailer has lost access to future athletic orders with Nike and will exit the brand when current Swoosh inventory runs out.

“We believe that there is still so much room for growth as it relates to the overall athletic space that will help drive top line growth, as well as improve our margins,” CEO Roger Rawlins told analysts yesterday. The company will continue to invest in athletic inventory to keep pace with the higher category demand.

“We are getting strong results across our entire athletic portfolio,” added Rawlins. “Again, because we’ve known the customer is buying this product somewhere and they’ve been buying from competitors in the past. And by offering those goods, it’s adding to their baskets with DSW.”

The retail footwear chain is also experiencing sales improvement in men’s dress. Category sales rose 3 percent versus Q3/19 from a -30 percent comp in Q2.