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In The News: Vionic Recovery Sandals, New DSW President, Caleres, Famous Footwear


Vionic has launched two recovery sandal styles aptly named Rejuvenate and Restore. Featuring dual density cushioning for Three-Zone Comfort experience and arch support, the recovery sandals, $79.95, feature textured footbeds for massaging relief, oversized side walls allow for max cushioning, and deep heel cups for stability. The Rejuvenate offers slide-in style, an adjustable hook and loop closure and comes in black, charcoal and teal. The Restore features an alternative toe post, slide-in style available in black, charcoal, teal and coral.

Doug Howe, a 30-year industry veteran is sliding into the senior executive role as the new president at DSW by month’s end, weeks after leaving his role as Chief Merchandising Officer for Kohl’s. In his new position, Howe will report directly to Designer Brands Inc. CEO Roger Rawlins and oversee the retailer’s 519 U.S. stores and direct-to-consumer channels. His prior retail experience includes stints with Old Navy Walmart and May Dept. Stores. At DSW, Howe will lead the retailer’s portfolio of nearly 700 locations under the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse banners and its Camuto Group business owns and licenses footwear and handbag brands.

An estimated $50 million in shipments to retail partners looking to refill their shelves with dress and wear-to-work products bolstered results in Caleres’ Brand Portfolio in the first quarter, helping the Famous Footwear parent generate a $50 million net profit versus $6.4 million for the period ended April 30. Total revenues were 15 percent higher at $735.1 million.

CAL’s Brand Portfolio was the strongest performer in Q1 as the segment generated a $41.3 million operating profit versus a year-ago loss of $2.8 million on 46 percent topline growth to $365.7 million from $250.3 million. The better-than-forecast results were driven by double-digit increases from each brand in the portfolio, including triple-digit gains for a couple of brands. Besides dress and ready-to-work styles, the sales increases were marked by continued demand for casual and sport-inspired styles. Caleres’ management cautioned that the post-pandemic re-stock by retailers is likely to moderate during the remainder of the year. 

Portfolio brands LifeStride, Scholl’s and Blowfish were among the Top 10 best-selling brand at Famous Footwear in Q1. Chain sales slipped 3.4 percent to $384.5 million due to a lower door count and an easing of post-pandemic pent-up demand. But the banner’s gross margin rate rose 405 basis points to 49.2 percent on full price selling and a less promotional environment.

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