Elan-Polo Ramps Up Slipper Focus

NEW YORK — Elan-Polo is moving into the next decade with a bigger focus on its slipper business.

The St. Louis-based company, whose stable of brands includes Daniel Green, L.B. Evans and Woolrich, is updating its labels to attract a new generation of customers and move deeper into the high-end market.

“[These] brands possess years of history and heritage,” said Elan-Polo President Bob Callahan, referring to L.B. Evans’ launch in 1804, followed by Woolrich in 1830 and Daniel Green in 1882.

Slippers have continued to be a bright spot for the company, said Callahan, with the category accounting for 30 percent of revenues. The firm’s e-commerce site, which offers all three slipper labels, had a robust 2010, boasting a 25 percent increase in sales over 2009. Elan-Polo also launched a Facebook page last year to reinforce its ties with consumers.

Now, the firm is expanding its merchandise selection for 2011. Daniel Green is going after the higher-end market with its DG Collection. With retail prices between $59 and $120, the brand expects the line will provide entry into better department stores and specialty retailers.

Mason Shoe Cos., based in Chippewa Falls, Wis., has a long-standing relationship with Daniel Green and is looking forward to the new initiatives, according to merchandiser John Kuehl. While the brand’s traditional slipper looks continue to sell, Kuehl said he has high hopes for several fall ’11 styles, particularly the Avery, a knit boot, and the Geneva, a faux fur boot.

Elan-Polo’s men’s label L.B. Evans is updating its product offering with fresh takes on classic silhouettes such as mocs and clogs. Priced from $45 to $90, the brand will continue to be distributed through key accounts including Dillard’s, Men’s Wearhouse and Nordstrom.

Elan-Polo also is reaching out to new customers with its licensed Woolrich business. The brand is undergoing a makeover under its parent company, receiving changes such as a new logo and fresh product. To coincide with the overhaul, Elan-Polo will introduce a series of indoor-outdoor footwear targeting 35-year-old men and women.

“Woolrich represents rugged and outdoor-inspired styling with focused distribution in outdoor, sporting goods and specialty retailers,” said Callahan.

However, at-home footwear is not the company’s only focus for fall. After its seven-year licensing agreement for men’s and children’s footwear under the Rocket Dog label ended last spring, Elan-Polo is filling the void in the young men’s market with newly created in-house label Crevo. Set to bow this spring, it retails from $40 to $90 at stores including The Buckle, Shoe Carnival, Tradehome and DSW. A companion website will launch in March.

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