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Brown Shoe Acquires Sam & Libby

NEW YORK — Sam and Libby are reuniting with Sam & Libby.

Brown Shoe Co. has acquired the women’s footwear brand, originally launched by Sam and Libby Edelman in 1987, from The Jones Group Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed as of press time. (Sam Edelman Shoe sold the brand to Maxwell Shoe Co. in 1996, and Jones Group acquired Maxwell in 2004.)

“This brings us full circle,” designer Sam Edelman said of regaining control of Sam & Libby, noting that Brown Shoe’s move strengthens his relationship with the company, which completed its acquisition of Sam Edelman Shoe in 2010.

“[Adding Sam & Libby to Sam Edelman Shoe’s offerings] allows us to sit with [Brown Shoe Co. President and CEO] Diane Sullivan and truly develop the lifestyle collections that we believe in: Sam Edelman, Circus by Sam Edelman, and now Sam & Libby,” he said.

“We feel very strongly that this brand belongs with Sam and Libby, the people who created it,” Sullivan said in a statement. “The timing is perfect, [and] the potential for the entire portfolio … presents additional interesting opportunities for us to explore.”

The news comes on the heels of Libby Edelman’s return to Brown Shoe after a nine-month sabbatical. She told Footwear News in August that her eponymous footwear line would be nixed and that her new role would focus on licensing, but now, “It’s pretty clear why Libby came back from sabbatical,” Sam Edelman said.

The Edelmans declined to comment on a specific time frame for the relaunch or why the Libby Edelman label is being discontinued.

However, the couple did reveal that Sam & Libby, which was part of Jones Group’s mid-tier “moderate” business alongside labels such as Mootsies Tootsies and Easy Spirit, will undergo a dramatic transformation.

“We will reenergize it,” said Libby Edelman. “We are going to go through a very exciting process, from [new] design to deciding who our customer is going to be to marketing.”

Sam Edelman noted that Sam & Libby’s “homecoming” was an emotionally significant moment for the couple.

“We have thought about this for 15 years,” Sam Edelman said. “[Selling Sam & Libby] was probably the biggest mistake we ever made. I think we were advised poorly at the time, so it has been a missing link of our persona and our heritage.”

“The divestiture of Sam & Libby is another example of The Jones Group implementing our strategy with discipline and focus,” said Richard Dickson, president and CEO of branded businesses for Jones Group. “We continue to actively study The Jones Group’s portfolio of brands, focusing on opportunities that fit within our vision and offering what we believe are the greatest drivers for growth: our core brands and emerging designer businesses.”

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