Caleres Buys Vionic for $360 Million

Caleres Inc. is adding another popular footwear name to its portfolio.

The owner of Famous Footwear and brands such as Sam Edelman and Dr. Scholls announced today that it has acquired comfort footwear label Vionic for $360 million. (The final amount is subject to certain adjustments.)

“Vionic is a brand with big potential. Although it was only launched in North America in 2007, the brand has already proven to be a disruptive addition to the industry and has been taking share of the growing, multibillion-dollar, contemporary comfort footwear category,” said Caleres president, chairman and CEO Diane Sullivan. “We couldn’t be happier with this addition to our brand portfolio.”

Vionic — which counts Oprah Winfrey among its A-List fans — has logged trailing 12-month sales of $180 million, reflecting a compounded annual growth rate of more than 20 percent over the past six years. (The brand has appeared on “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list for two consecutive years.) About 25 percent of its sales over the past 12 months were from e-commerce sites, while international sales contributed about 8 percent to total revenues.

Vionic ruffles spring '19
Ruffled styles from Vionic’s spring ’19 collection.
CREDIT: Vionic

Chris Gallagher, co-founder and CEO of Vionic Group, said the brand is “delighted” to join the St. Louis-based firm and that it has “big plans and even bigger dreams” that it expects its new parent will help it bring to life.

“With Caleres, we immediately saw an alignment around vision, culture and core values,” Gallagher said. “This acquisition enables us to benefit from their support and leverage their capabilities. It also allows us to continue to drive brand awareness for our already fast-growing and profitable brand.”

Vionic

Caleres is marking its second acquisition in the past year. In July, it announced that it had acquired a controlling interest in California lifestyle shoe label Blowfish Malibu. Before that, in December 2016, Caleres announced its procurement of men’s shoe label Allen Edmonds for $255 million.

Amid the rapid rise of digital and significantly greater competition in the retail space, a growing number of independent brands are attaching themselves to larger parent firms in hopes that companies can provide a safety net, support their expansion goals and take care of other administrative and logistical tasks.

Last year, previously family-owned Schwartz & Benjamin found a suitor in Steve Madden. In the luxury space, independent fashion house Dries Van Noten this summer sold a majority stake to Barcelona-based fashion and fragrance firm Puig.

Caleres’ acquisition of Vionic Group is being funded through the company’s revolving credit agreement. Wells Fargo Securities acted as the exclusive financial adviser to Caleres, in connection with the acquisition, while Robert W. Baird & Co. acted on behalf of Vionic Group.

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