There's no business like shoe business for Caleres (formerly Brown Shoe Company). Caleres operates over 1,045 value-priced family footwear stores under the Famous Footwear banner in the US and Guam, 159 Naturalizer stores in the US and Canada, and a growing number of shoe stores in China. The company also sells shoes online and licenses Dr. Scholl's and Disney brand footwear. It distributes footwear worldwide through more than 1,700 retailers, including independent, chain (DSW), department stores (Nordstrom), catalogs, and online retailers. Caleres is opening new stores, closing underperforming ones, and updating styles to appeal to younger bipeds. The company has a growing footprint in China.
The company has two segments: Famous Footwear (bringing in around 61% of sales) and Brand Portfolio (39%).
The Famous Footwear segment includes its Famous Footwear stores, as well as Famous.com., which operates with 1,046 stores.
Famous Footwear stores feature a wide selection of brand-name athletic, casual and dress shoes for the entire family. Brands carried include, among others, NIKE, Skechers, Bearpaw, Converse, Vans, New Balance, adidas, Asics, Sperry, and Sof Sole, as well as company-owned and licensed brands including, among others, LifeStride, Dr. Scholl’s, Fergalicious, Naturalizer and Carlos.
The Brand Portfolio segment is comprised of the Naturalizer, Sam Edelman, Dr. Scholl's, Franco Sarto, LifeStride, Vince, Via Spiga, Fergie, Ryka and Carlos brands. Brand Portfolio operates 165 retail stores in the US and Canada, primarily for its Naturalizer brand. In connection with its omni-channel approach to reach consumers, the company also operates Naturalizer.com, Naturalizer.ca, SamEdelman.com, and DrSchollsShoes.com
In fiscal 2015 (ended January 2016), 63% of the company’s sales were women’s footwear; 23% men’s footwear; 9% children’s footwear; and 5% accessories. About 66% of footwear sales in fiscal 2015 were retail sales, including sales through its e-commerce websites; the remaining 34% were wholesale sales.
While Caleres rings up around 90% of its sales in the US, its retail reach extends as far as China where its majority-owned subsidiary, B&H Footwear Limited, operates about 25 shoe stores in major cities. China is the source for about 76% of Brown Shoe's footwear. Its sells retail footwear through 1,210 shoe stores across the US, Canada, and Guam (including 94 in Canada).
The company has sourcing and product development offices in China, Hong Kong,Macau, Vietnam, Italy, Ethiopia, and the US (St. Louis and New York).
Sales and Marketing
Caleres' footwear is distributed throughout North America via retailers, including national chains, department stores, mass merchandisers, independent retailers, online retailers, and catalogs.
The company invests in advertising and marketing support, including print, in-store displays and fixtures, public relations, tradeshows consumer media advertising, production, cooperative advertising, and digital advertising, with its wholesale customers. Total advertising and marketing expense was $78.4 million in 2016, down somewhat on $82.2 million in 2015.
Significant wholesale customers include Famous Footwear, and large nation-wide retailers like DSW, TJX Corp and Nordstrom Rack; department stores such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Dillard's; online retailers such as Zappos.com and Amazon; mass merchandisers such as Walmart and Target; and independent retailers like QVC and Home Shopping Network.
Purchases Nike and Skechers account for 23% and 13% of sales in the Famous Footwear segment.
Revenue grew in 2016 on prior year but by less than a percent, coming in at $2.5 billion. An increase in the Brand Portfolio segment was partially offset by a fall in Famous Footwear. Strong performances in brands including Sam Edelman, LifeStride, Vince and Carlos helped Brand Portfolio to growth. The disposal of Shoes.com in December 2014 was the biggest factor in the $16.6 million fall in Famous Footwear.
Net income fell in 2016 following five years of growth, falling $1.3 million due to loss on early extinguishment of debt. Cash flow from operations grew 26% in prior year to $149.1 million due to changes in trade accounts payable and prepaid expenses and other current and non-current assets.
Updating its image and brand, in 2015 Brown Shoes changed its corporate name to Caleres.
In 2016, Caleres plans to open six Sam Edelman stores, including its first such store in Texas. As of mid-2016, 12 Sam Edelman stores are open for business. Meanwhile, Caleres expects to open one Naturalizer store and close five in 2016.
In 2015, Caleres added two new names to its Brand Portfolio segment: Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) and George Brown. It teamed up with DVF to launch a women's luxury contemporary shoe line, and launched a new shoe line for men with George Brown, expanding Caleres' reach in the sector.
In 2015 the company launched e-commerce site Bzees.com for its Bzees brand shoes. That year Celares entered into a licensing agreement with Diane von Furstenberg to produce and distribute a women’s shoe collection for the Resort 2016 season. Caleres has been reducing the store counts of both its Famous Footwear and specialty retail chains, while gradually growing its retail footprint in China. Indeed, China is a growth market for Caleres. The company has a joint venture agreement with a subsidiary of C.banner International Holdings Limited (CBI) to market Naturalizer footwear in China. Celares is a 51% owner of the joint venture B&H Footwear, with CBI owning the other 49%. B&H Footwear sells Naturalizer footwear to a retail affiliate of CBI on a wholesale basis.
Its B&H Footwear venture opened five stores in China in fiscal 2014, bringing its total in China to more than 30 locations. Also, through a joint venture with China's Hongguo International Holdings, Caleres operates some 80 stores there and planned to open more than 20 in fiscal 2015.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In late 2016 the company acquired men's premium footwear maker Allen Edmonds from private equity firm Brentwood Associates for $255 million. The purchase of the nearly century old brand broadens Caleres' growing men's footwear portfolio.