Why Journeys & Famous Footwear Are Booming Right Now

There’s something about family-footwear retailers.

If you’ve been watching footwear-and-apparel earnings releases lately, you may have noticed that the biggest boost to the financial performance of several brand-management firms have come from their family-footwear businesses.

Case in point: Caleres’ Famous Footwear and Genesco’s Journeys.

In Q3, Journeys, with comp sales advancing 6 percent in the quarter, helped Genesco buck the industrywide trend of declining sales and profits. Famous Footwear, which saw adjusted sales growth of 5 percent in the quarter, did the same for its parent company.

The combination of convenience and fashion is helping [family footwear retailers],” explained CL King & Associates analyst Steve Marotta. “[Shopping] department stores can be a little more arduous, whereas these types of businesses tend to be ‘easy in, easy out.’”

While each brand in the retailers’ assortments has it own unique strength — with Journeys being more teen-oriented than Famous Footwear — having the right mix as well as strong e-commerce and omnichannnel initiatives is also giving Famous Footwear and Journeys an edge, Marotta added.

B. Riley & Co. LLC analyst Jeff Van Sinderen agreed: Variety, coupled with a vigorous omnichannel strategy, is key.

Seems like the strength [of family-footwear businesses] is at least partially derived from their relatively strong value proposition and ability to serve a broad demographic/age range,” Van Sinderen noted. “They are good at offering a wide variety of product, from athletic/active to ‘brown shoes,’ with accessible, competitive price points and relevant promotions to keep the customer coming back.”

While they generally do not have “the most unique SKUs, nor do they delve into the higher price-point product,” Van Sinderen added, “they are good at serving a style-conscious consumer who shops for various footwear genres for the entire family.”

Whether the strength in the family-footwear space will continue, Van Sinderen said, is up to the companies.

“The consumer likes these concepts and, so long as these retailers continue to evolve their businesses for e-commerce/omnichannel while maintaining strong profitability metrics, it would seem that they remain positioned to outperform,” said Van Sinderen.


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