It’s been a tough race for the Camuto Group, but parent company Designer Brands Inc. is confident its new plan for the business will work as the pandemic recovery sets in.
Camuto – which has been hit hard by declining dress shoe sales – saw its total sales, including those of sister company DSW, decline 49.5% to $ 52.2 million in the fourth quarter. The company said it reduced production by 40% in the fourth quarter, down from 30% in the third quarter. There are signs of improvement, however: in the first quarter, he expects Camuto’s production to decline by around 15% compared to the first quarter of 2020.
“It’s no surprise that the business remains difficult because customers don’t need or buy dress shoes,” CEO Roger Rawlins said on the call. “Given America’s precariousness throughout the pandemic, we have seen a dramatic drop in demand for brands of clothing and footwear. This persisted throughout the fourth quarter, but we have planned our inventory to align with our anticipated demand, and we will continue to manage our inventory appropriately going forward. “
As consumer shifts continue to occur, Camuto is also seeing its wholesale business shrink and being asked to take greater inventory risks as department stores struggle with their own traffic. “In view of these trends, we will focus on serving our larger wholesale customers, DSW being the most important. We have to think and act like a vertical retailer and control our own destiny, ”said Rawlins.
The CEO said that while DBI continues to focus on sports, kids and recreation, Camuto’s focus will be key once the dress bounces back.
At the heart of the corporate plan is the focus on three key brands in the Camuto portfolio: Vince Camuto, Lucky and Jessica Simpson.
For starters, Vince Camuto is expected to relaunch in Fall 21 with an emphasis on quality design and materials. “We want to remind the customer that Vince Camuto is known for his European inspiration and attention to detail, fit and comfort, ”said Rawlins. “We plan to develop its presence across all of our channels. “
The JLo line – which debuted last February – will also be relaunched. And the company is rolling out more brands exclusive to DSW, including men’s brands, Crown Vintage and Mix No. 6.