And for more analysis on how Brown Shoe has weathered the many changes in the industry and economy, check out this feature article from Monday’s issue of Footwear News.
• George Warren Brown and his partners, Alvin Bryan and Jerome Desnoyers, launch Bryan, Brown & Co.
• Firm changes name to Brown Shoe Co.
• Company purchases the rights to the Buster Brown character name; “Buster Brown” show tours country, playing to audiences in theaters, department stores and shoe stores
• Firm lists on New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BWS
• Naturalizer women’s brand launches
• LifeStride line debuts
• Company acquires Wohl Shoe Co., operator of 350 specialty stores and 800 shoe departments for major department stores
• The first Naturalizer store opens in Jamaica, N.Y.
• Firm buys Perth Shoe Co., now known as Brown Shoe Co. of Canada Ltd.
• Company purchases Cloth World, Eagle Rubber, Hedstrom, BottomHalf and Meis Department Stores; forms Recreational Products Cos. division
• Name changes again to Brown Group Inc.
• The 36-store Famous Footwear chain is acquired
• Firm establishes its Brown Group International division
• A decade-long repositioning commences by selling the non-footwear businesses and closing the domestic manufacturing plants, shifting production to China
• Acquisition of Pagoda Trading Co. is completed
• Company signs its long-term license for the Dr. Scholl’s brand
• Name changes back to Brown Shoe Co.
• Ron Fromm is appointed CEO
• Naturalizer revitalizes its image with a new marketing campaign and fresh product styling geared to a younger, more fashion-conscious woman
• Brown acquires e-commerce retailer Shoes.com
• Firm buys 26-store chain Mil-Mar and folds it into Famous Footwear
• Naturalizer celebrates 75 years
• Carlos by Carlos Santana brand launches
• Famous Footwear begins repositioning to appeal to the “fashion value” customer
• Buster Brown celebrates 100 years
• Company signs Bass footwear license
• Firm acquires Bennett Footwear Group LLC, along with its Via Spiga, Franco Sarto, Etienne Aigner and Nickels Soft brands
• Bennett Footwear is integrated into Brown New York
• Plans are announced to open Naturalizer and Via Spiga stores in China
• Company signs an agreement with Sam and Libby Edelman to invest in Edelman Shoe Inc.
• Celebrity-licensed brand Fergie debuts
• Brown plans to create an interconnected footwear company in its St. Louis headquarters
• A West Coast retailer distribution center opens
• Firm buys remaining 50 percent stake in Edelman Shoe Inc. from founders Sam and Libby Edelman
• Diane Sullivan is appointed president and CEO
• Brown expands its reach into healthy living with the acquisition of American Sporting Goods
• Vince is added to the footwear portfolio
• Company exits children’s footwear business and licenses kids’ brands Buster Brown, Sam Edelman and Avia to BBC International
• Portfolio realignment is completed
• Famousfootwear.com logs more than 60 million visits, with a quarter of them on mobile devices
• Firm terminates Etienne Aigner license
• Avia and Nevados are sold for $74 million
• Famous Footwear launches its free shopping app for iPhone and Android
• FN names Diane Sullivan as Person of the Year
• Sullivan adds the chairman title
• Company purchases Franco Sarto for $65 million