Bigger and better continues to be the mantra for Skechers USA Inc.
The athletic footwear maker said Monday that it has completed the fourth phase of an expansion to its European Distribution Center (EDC) in Belgium, adding an additional 285,000-plus square feet to the mammoth center, bringing its total size to approximately 1.1 million square feet.
The Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based brand said it now boasts the largest company-operated distribution center in southern Belgium.
International growth has been a top priority for Skechers in recent years, and Europe has become the brand’s largest market outside the U.S.
“To meet the increased demand, we are investing in our infrastructure, including improved efficiencies in our EDC, which allowed us to achieve a record 3 million pairs shipped in a month during February and 8.1 million pairs for the first quarter of 2016,” Skechers COO and CFO David Weinberg said in Monday’s release. “With the completion of our EDC expansion and with the automation to be fully completed later this year, we expect to be even more efficient in our largest market outside of the United States and prepared for continued growth in Europe.”
In April, Skechers said its first quarter net sales totaled $978.8 million, which was primarily the result of a 47.1 percent increase in its international wholesale business. At that time, Weinberg said international, for the first time in the company’s history, had become its largest segment.
“After outgrowing our storage capacity, we had to manage overflow beyond our facility, and this new building will allow us to consolidate storage into the EDC and stabilize our logistics to meet growing needs of the European market over the longer term,” said Sophie Houtmeyers, VP of distribution operations at Skechers EDC, in a release. “This added storage capacity also opens up space in one of our adjoining buildings for the installation of new automation technologies that have improved efficiency elsewhere in our facility. We expect these upgrades to be online by November of this year and when combined with the expansion will prepare us for the future.”
Since Skechers opened its EDC as a 242,000-sq.-ft. space in 2002, the company has been gradually expanding the facility to meet growing demand for its product overseas. The distribution center currently employs 250 full-time equivalent workers, and Skechers said the latest expansion should lead to additional hires in both white-collar and blue-collar positions.
The EDC distributes product to Skechers’ subsidiary-managed businesses throughout Europe including wholesale accounts, more than 160 Skechers retail stores, e-commerce in the United Kingdom and Germany, and to a lesser extent to the company’s distribution partners in the region.