And a bevy of breaking business news as well as long-form investigative pieces kept shoe-minded Footwear News readers on their toes throughout 2017
Here we break down the most clicked-on business stories of the year.
1. Shoes.com Abruptly Shuts Down Operations
When Zappos competitor Shoes.com appeared to abruptly throw in the towel in late January, people clicked in for the details at a frenetic pace. The Canada-based company informed its employees of the news just days before it shuttered operations. In an interesting twist, months later, ShoeBuy — under its new parent, Walmart-owned Jet.com — would snap up the defunct e-tailer’s intellectual property. ShoeBuy rebranded as Shoes.com in September.
2. Why Crocs Is Closing 158 Stores
Despite seeing sales slump for several years, the lightweight clogs continue to have their share of loyal followers. So when the brand announced plans during an earnings conference call to ditch nearly 160 doors, shoppers clicked in to find out what gives.
3. Is Payless the Next Sports Authority?
Inquiring minds wanted to know just that. So when FN — in response to numerous leads from industry insiders — asked whether Payless was soon to take the bankruptcy route in January, the response was enormous. Sure enough, the low-price family footwear retailer would file for Chapter 11 in April but emerge just four months later in August with a new lease on life.
4. Adidas, New Balance, Gucci & Others Owed Big Bucks by Newly Bankrupt The Tannery
A buzzy Boston shoe store, millions of bucks on the table and a handful of beloved household brand names make for a compelling headline and subsequent story. News that popular shoe store The Tannery filed for Chapter 11 in July and the fact that it owed hefty sums to some of the industry’s most well-known brands — including Nike, New Balance and Gucci — was easily a worthy read.
5. Aldo & Camuto Group to Merge to Create Footwear Powerhouse
Ah, the deal that never was. News that two of the most storied names in footwear would join forces set the industry ablaze in August when Aldo announced plans to acquire Camuto Group. “One family business is acquiring another. We both have that entrepreneurial spirit,” Aldo CEO David Bensadoun said when the deal was announced. “Both of our companies are heavily product-oriented, and they each evolved in different ways.” Unfortunately, the companies in August announced their decision to call off the deal.
6. Brands React to QVC-HSN Merger
When two of the biggest multichannel retailers — and competitors, for that matter — merge, one has to wonder how each company’s largest stakeholders are feeling about the deal. That probably explains why readers clicked into FN’s coverage of brand reactions to two longtime competitors adopting the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mantra. Clarks USA and Earth Footwear were among the labels to share their thoughts on the deal with the publication.