Why the Heck Did DSW Change Its Name?

Shoeography | Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | 0 comments

Well-known shoe company DSW recently announced that its name will change to Designer Brands Inc. following the announcement of a 3-year growth plan. This new plan developed as a result of DSW's acquisition of the Camuto Group of Vince Camuto shoes.

But it was more than just the acquisition of Camuto Group; the chain also revealed that market shares were down by 13%, far below analysts' expectations for the fiscal year.
As such, DSW -- which stood for Designer Shoe Warehouse -- hopes to make a number of changes in their stores, including changes to inventory management, the products being sold, and expanding their services.

"Over the next three years and beyond, we will leverage our integrated enterprise to continue delivering differentiated products and experiences while significantly expanding our gross margin by bringing the production of our private brands in-house through our industry-leading Camuto Group and increasing the sales penetration of all of our produced brands across our retail channels," explained chief executive officer Roger Rawlins.

In the 2018 fiscal year, DSW only sold $285 million in their exclusive brands. With the help of Camuto Group, these sales are expected to boost to $725 million in sales by 2021. Reports claim that consumers often make purchases directly from brands after DSW serves as an entry point for these companies.

This change will affect more than 1,000 operating stores throughout the United States. Changing the signage alone is a risky endeavor since 79% of Americans will remember a business by its sign. But the company is confident this change will yield positive results in accordance with its goals.
One of the primary goals in the company's 3-year plan include growing their own products and pivot away selling solely external designer brands. The company also hopes to increase market penetration online and expand their selection of kids shoes in order to target families.
Of course, this isn't the first time DSW has restructured aspects of their business, but this is perhaps the most intense pivot the company has seen so far.

Last year, DSW restructured its customer reward program based on customer feedback. As such, consumers who signed up for the program existed in one of three tiers, whereas the previous system only had two. It also gave consumers the ability to give birthday rewards to friends and even donate shoes to DSW's partner company Soles for Souls. For each pair of shoes donated, the company would give 50 points to a customer's account. These points later turn into coupons and other rewards that the customer can use for online and in-store purchases.

It's estimated that more than 14.3 million tons of donated goods will help families throughout the world.

DSW, now Designer Brands, hopes to continue expanding on its rewards program for consumers, creating accessible footwear at an affordable price.

"With DSW's world-class omni-channel capabilities and loyal customer base, combined with Camuto Group's leading design and sourcing capabilities and The Shoe Company's powerful last-mile solution, Designer Brands has a strong platform to grow and lead the footwear market," said Rawlins.
For investors, DSW has adopted a new ticker symbol, reading DBI. This change was approved by the New York Stock Exchange as of April 2, 2019.

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