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Famous Footwear Struggles on Soft Demand; Vionic Has New Brand Direction


Total sales at the Caleres-owned chain Famous Footwear fell by 9.2 percent to $349.2 million from $384.5 million for the three months ended April 29. Comparable store sales fell 8.5 percent and operating income from the 866-door business sank 66 percent to $17.1 million. March was particularly difficult month, exacerbated by a late start to the sandal season. Kids’ footwear outpaced other categories as Famous hired a new merchant for the segment to help drive the chain’s point-of-sale strategy for the category.

Elsewhere, Caleres’ Brand Portfolio reported record quarterly operating earnings of almost $43 million and a 13.0 percent operating margin from sales of $325.5 million. Sam Edelman, Naturalizer, Allen Edmonds and Vionic combined accounted for more than half of segment sales. Trends in flats, loafers, dress shoes, and fashion sneakers paced the sales development at Sam Edelman and Naturalizer. Meanwhile, Caleres launched a new brand direction for Vionic that combines a Northern California aesthetic with the brand’s “unique” scientific solutioning. Management said the new messaging sparked an immediate, positive response on with casual sandals and dress delivering significant year-over-year growth in the quarter.

With the fashion sneaker trend growing, Caleres expects its Brand Portfolio to be in a better position to capitalize on the movement in late Q2, according to Jay Schmidt, president, and CEO.