DSW (short for Designer Shoe Warehouse) sells discounted brand-name footwear. DSW stores sell shoes for style-conscious men, women, and kids through 468 stores in 40-plus US states and Puerto Rico, as well as online at dsw.com. DSW stores average 21,000 square feet and stock about 21,500 pairs of dress, casual, and athletic shoes, as well as a complementary array of handbags, hosiery, and accessories. The company also operates about 385 leased departments inside stores operated by other retailers. The discount footwear giant is dipping its toe in the luxury shoe market. DSW was founded in 1969.
In addition to its historically-fast-growing retail operation, DSW operates leased departments inside more than 275 stores operated by Stein Mart, 100-plus Gordmans stores, and one Frugal Fannie's Fashion Warehouse store. Leased departments accounted for 6% of DSW's fiscal 2016 (ended January) sales.
The company's reportable segments are DSW (which includes DSW stores and dsw.com), and the Affiliated Business Group (ABG). ABG partners with multi-category retailers to develop strategies and business models for targeted shoe assortments.
Fast-growing DSW operates shoe stores in 42 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Its two largest markets are California and Texas, home to about 18% of its stores.
Sales and Marketing
The company sells through its stores and online website.
DSW's marketing costs were $70.1 million, $59.9 million, and $56.2 million in fiscal 2015, 2014, and 2013, respectively.
The company has seen an upward trend in revenues since 2012.
In fiscal 2016 net sales increased by 5% due to higher DSW and ABG segment sales.
DSW segment sales rose as the result of an increase in digitally demanded sales and non-comparable sales growth attributable to stores opened in fiscal 2014, as well as 37 net new DSW stores in fiscal 2015.
The increase in sales for ABG was primarily the result of comparable sales growth and the net addition of eight new shoe departments in fiscal 2015.
In fiscal 2016 DSW's net income decreased by $17.26 million (11%) compared to 2015 due to increased operating expenses and a loss from town shoes. Higher operating expenses were driven by increased marketing expenses and home office overhead.
Net cash provided by operating activities increased by 23% due to a change in accounts payable and inventories.
The historically fast-growing company has returned to a more aggressive growth strategy after a hiatus during the deep recession and its aftermath. (DSW was a relatively-strong performer throughout the recession, which left many other retailers struggling with falling sales.)
DSW targets fashion-focused men and women from wide-ranging socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds. It looks to capture these shoppers by offering a broad selection of in-season styles at prices that rival the sales deals found in department stores.
The company's growth strategy is to continue to strengthen its position as a leading footwear and accessories retailer by expanding into new markets with the appropriate banners and store format, extending its customer reach through new categories, and acquiring other companies. It also plans to continue expanding its physical and digital presence in relevant markets through existing and new formats, investing in infrastructure, and using its financial strength to invest in key initiatives.
The company opened 40 DSW stores and closed 3 DSW stores in fiscal 2015. It planned to open 30 to 35 DSW stores in fiscal 2016 and an additional 15 to 20 DSW stores in each of the following three to five years, with the primary focus on power strip centers. It also plans to reposition existing stores as opportunities arise.
In addition to store growth, DSW is enhancing its omni-channel capabilities. It expanded its drop ship program, made previously store-only products available online, and increased availability of its accessories online.
In fiscal 2014 the chain opened 30 new stores, including its first in Canada, with an ultimate goal of 450 to 500 stores. The company entered the Canadian market in spring 2014 with the purchase of a minority stake in that country's largest footwear retailer, Town Shoes, for about $62 million. Under the terms of the deal, DSW has the right to purchase the rest of Town Shoes after four years.
The discount shoe retailer has also tested the luxury area, with a test (characterized by the company as "unsuccessful") of an expanded luxury assortment online. DSW's future approach to luxury sales will depend on its ability to buy products that will allow it to at least break even.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In February 2016 DSW agreed to acquire Ebuys, a leading e-commerce off-price footwear and accessories retailer with a presence in North America, Europe, Australia. and Asia. The deal supports DSW's efforts to grow its market share within footwear and accessories domestically and internationally. The purchase price includes an upfront payment of $62.5 million as well as future payments contingent on the performance of Ebuys, Inc.
In May 2014 DSW entered Canada with the purchase of a 44% stake in that country's largest footwear retailer, Town Shoes, for about $62 million. Under the terms of the deal, DSW has the right to purchase the rest of Town Shoes after four years. Town Shoes operates 182 locations across Canada and reported sales of C$291 million. DSW's initial stake provides 50% voting control and board representation.