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Caleres to Close 133 Naturalizer Stores, Bring in New President of Famous Footwear

Caleres plans to close 133 Naturalizer stores by the end of January 2021 and adjust its back-office infrastructure as the shoe retailer shifts to a digital focus. Additionally, Famous Footwear will continue its own recovery effort under newly-minted President Michael Edwards.

Like many apparel retailers, Caleres has been struggling under the pandemic, with net sales down 18.3% year-over-year for Q3 2020. However, a 24.6% increase in ecommerce sales during the same period presents a path to profitability. Caleres made 71.4% of its sales through the direct-to-consumer channel during the latest quarter.

“Like the rest of the industry we have seen a structural shift in the shopping behavior of the consumer — a change that has been further accelerated by the global health crisis,” said Diane Sullivan, CEO, President and Chairman of Caleres in a statement. “With a larger percentage of Naturalizer’s sales originating online, now is the opportune time to shed the legacy stores and evolve it to be more profitable. We are confident this step will better align the brand with the Naturalizer consumer of the future and position the brand for growth and further success.”

The continued focus on digital will include “shifting talent to amplify our digital presence” as the retailer harnesses this momentum to improve its prospects.

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The Famous Footwear business reported a 12.3% sales decline during Q3, but this was an improvement over Q2’s 20.5% drop. The continued turnaround effort will be overseen by Caleres veteran Michael Edwards, who has been with the company since 2008 and most recently served as SVP of Digital Commerce, Planning, Allocation and Stores.

“Famous Footwear is expertly positioned to excel in any market environment through our ability to offer the national brands she wants, when and where she wants to shop — online and in-store,” said Edwards in a statement. “Athletic and sport-inspired styles, our sweet spot, are exactly what the customer is looking for in this environment. We have the right team and tools in place to leverage what we’ve learned, build upon our successes, advance our goals and deliver value to all of our stakeholders.”

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