Coronavirus Update: Our team is here to help our clients and readers navigate these difficult times. Visit our Resources page now »

Skip to Main Content
Designer Brands Inc. logo

Designer Brands Inc.
Related Internships: 
Designer Brands Summer Internship Program


About Designer Brands Inc.

DSW (short for Designer Shoe Warehouse) sells discounted brand-name footwear. DSW stores sell shoes for style-conscious men, women, and kids through more than 500 stores in 40-plus US states and Puerto Rico, as well as online at DSW stores average 21,000 square feet and stock about 22,000 pairs of dress, casual, and athletic shoes, as well as a complementary array of handbags, hosiery, and accessories. The company also operates about 395 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 almost 290 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 is the largest segment accounted for more than 90% of the company's revenue, and the Affiliated Business Group (ABG). ABG partners with multi-category retailers to develop strategies and business models for targeted shoe assortments.

Geographic Reach

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

DSW sells through its stores and online website. The company's marketing costs were $76.7 million in fiscal 2016.

Financial Performance

DSW has seen an upward trend in revenues over the past several fiscal years. The company reported $2.7 billion in revenue for fiscal 2016, up from $2.6 billion in fiscal 2015 and $2.5 billion in fiscal 2014.

However, the shoe retailer's net income has decreased in recent fiscal years. DSW reported $124.5 million in net income for fiscal 2016. That was down from the $136 million the company claimed for net income in fiscal 2015 and the $153 million DSW cleared in fiscal 2014.

The company's cash flow went down to $79 million at the end of fiscal 2016 from $110 million at the end of the prior fiscal period.


The historically fast-growing company has a somewhat aggressive growth strategy. 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.

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.

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 March 2016, DSW completed the acquisition of 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.

Designer Brands Inc.

810 DSW DR
Columbus, OH 43219-1828
Phone: 1 (614) 237-7100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: DBI
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Vice Chairman and Chief Merchandising Officer: Deborah L. Ferrée
CEO and Director: Roger L. Rawlins
Chairman: Jay L. Schottenstein
Employees (This Location): 380
Employees (All Locations): 16,100

Major Office Locations

Columbus, OH

Other Locations

Hoover, AL
Huntsville, AL
Mobile, AL
Little Rock, AR
Rogers, AR
Avondale, AZ
Gilbert, AZ
Peoria, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ
Brea, CA
Brentwood, CA
Canoga Park, CA
Chula Vista, CA
Costa Mesa, CA
Daly City, CA
Downey, CA
Dublin, CA
El Centro, CA
Fremont, CA
La Jolla, CA
La Quinta, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Morgan Hill, CA
Novato, CA
Ontario, CA
Palm Desert, CA
Pleasant Hill, CA
Redlands, CA
Roseville, CA
San Diego, CA
San Jose, CA
San Mateo, CA
Santee, CA
Thousand Oaks, CA
Torrance, CA
West Covina, CA
Colorado Springs, CO
Fort Collins, CO
Lakewood, CO
Longmont, CO
Danbury, CT
Fairfield, CT
Manchester, CT
North Haven, CT
Coconut Creek, FL
Cutler Bay, FL
Fort Myers, FL
Gainesville, FL
Kissimmee, FL
Miami, FL
Naples, FL
Ocala, FL
Orlando, FL
Pembroke Pines, FL
Pensacola, FL
West Palm Beach, FL
Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta, GA
Augusta, GA
Cumming, GA
Lawrenceville, GA
Macon, GA
Newnan, GA
Norcross, GA
Stockbridge, GA
Algonquin, IL
Bolingbrook, IL
Chicago, IL
Dekalb, IL
Geneva, IL
Lake Zurich, IL
Lincolnshire, IL
Mchenry, IL
Northbrook, IL
Orland Park, IL
South Barrington, IL
Vernon Hills, IL
Bloomington, IN
Carmel, IN
Greenwood, IN
Indianapolis, IN
Merrillville, IN
Noblesville, IN
Plainfield, IN
Schererville, IN
South Bend, IN
Crestview Hills, KY
Louisville, KY
New Orleans, LA
Shreveport, LA
Braintree, MA
Burlington, MA
Hyannis, MA
Marlborough, MA
North Attleboro, MA
Peabody, MA
Plymouth, MA
Saugus, MA
Stoughton, MA
Woburn, MA
California, MD
Frederick, MD
Gambrills, MD
Hagerstown, MD
Laurel, MD
Waldorf, MD
South Portland, ME
Ann Arbor, MI
Brighton, MI
Chesterfield, MI
Kalamazoo, MI
Lansing, MI
Norton Shores, MI
Orion, MI
Rochester Hills, MI
Saginaw, MI
Troy, MI
Burnsville, MN
Maple Grove, MN
Minneapolis, MN
Rochester, MN
Saint Paul, MN
Lees Summit, MO
Asheville, NC
Durham, NC
Greensboro, NC
Matthews, NC
Raleigh, NC
Omaha, NE
Salem, NH
Bridgewater, NJ
Cherry Hill, NJ
Livingston, NJ
Marlton, NJ
Mount Laurel, NJ
Toms River, NJ
Wayne, NJ
Reno, NV
Albany, NY
Brooklyn, NY
Carle Place, NY
Lake Grove, NY
Lawrence, NY
Levittown, NY
Manhasset, NY
New York, NY
Plattsburgh, NY
Port Chester, NY
Riverhead, NY
Staten Island, NY
Victor, NY
Yonkers, NY
Akron, OH
Beachwood, OH
Beavercreek, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Mentor, OH
Strongsville, OH
Youngstown, OH
Norman, OK
Oklahoma City, OK
Eugene, OR
Hillsboro, OR
Portland, OR
Allentown, PA
Camp Hill, PA
Glen Mills, PA
Lancaster, PA
Monroeville, PA
Moosic, PA
Springfield, PA
Wynnewood, PA
Warwick, RI
Greenville, SC
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN
Arlington, TX
Cedar Hill, TX
Denton, TX
Garland, TX
Houston, TX
Humble, TX
Hurst, TX
Lubbock, TX
Mesquite, TX
Pearland, TX
Plano, TX
San Antonio, TX
Selma, TX
Sugar Land, TX
Tyler, TX
Waco, TX
Webster, TX
Midvale, UT
Alexandria, VA
Midlothian, VA
Newport News, VA
Vienna, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
Woodbridge, VA
Federal Way, WA
Lynnwood, WA
Olympia, WA
Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA
Eau Claire, WI
Madison, WI