LOS ANGELES — For years, high-end comfort retailers sought out shoes from Taryn Rose. But many of those same merchants are now worried that the label, which Schottenstein Stores Corp. purchased last week, could lose its luxury appeal.
Ed Geller, owner of Dallas-based E.G. Shoes, said the new owners, which have stakes in DSW and American Eagle Outfitters, are too rooted in the discount market to capitalize on the luxury aspects of the brand.
“Since they are in the lower-end business, they may not understand the line,” said Geller.
Summerlin Shoes owner Richard Olson said the brand could not continue to command $300 to $400 for sandals, as competition has grown in the fashion comfort category. But at the same time, moving the brand down market would make it less desirable to his Las Vegas-based clientele. “I don’t think it will be a premier, high-end brand [anymore],” he said. “[Schottenstein] may take it to China [and] make it at more moderate prices.”
Indeed, newly named brand president Mary Gleason said price points would be lowered as the label is repositioned for a wider customer base. Shoes in the line will range from $150 to $450, and production will move to Asia from Europe.
Still, Gleason, who also heads Schottenstein’s other luxury brands, including Adrienne Vittadini and Judith Leiber, said she’s confident the label can deliver more fashion and comfort appeal, even at a lower price.
As for design plans, Gleason said she is looking for a company to license the footwear, and is in talks to bring back namesake Taryn Rose, the designer and orthopedic surgeon who founded the brand. However, at press time, nothing had been finalized.
“I’m very pleased that the brand has been purchased by a company that is very competent,” said Rose, who in May will debut a new collection of footwear, leg wear and foot care products under the High Heal Power name on HSN. Shoes will be priced between $110 and $195.
Gleason said she is hopeful the Taryn Rose brand could return to stores as soon as spring ’11, assuming a licensing deal is closed in time.
The company’s retail stores, which were shuttered earlier this year, could also make a comeback as soon as 2012. However, Gleason said that for now her focus is on building the brand.