While there’s plenty of uncertainty impacting the footwear landscape in the early days of 2016, executives are bullish on key opportunities, from new launches to digital domination. Here, six of them open up about the year ahead.
Diane Sullivan, CEO, President and Chairman, Caleres Inc.
Opportunities: “We’ve made a lot of investment in our brands, infrastructure and people over the past few years. That lays the groundwork for us to explore opportunities to organically grow both our retail and wholesale businesses. We continue to refine who our customer is and how they shop. Keeping up with their needs requires us to be faster and more agile than ever before.”
Challenges: “Everyone knows there is a lot of noise in the industry and the market right now. We must maintain our focus on delivering consistent, profitable and sustainable growth.”
Dick Johnson, President, CEO Foot Locker Inc.
Opportunities: “[I’m not looking for just] one big opportunity but a year of multiple ones to drive performance across our core business, expand our position in kids, pursue opportunities in Europe, build our apparel business, grow our powerful digital business, deliver growth in our women’s business and work with and build the best team in retail.”
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MaryAnne Morin, chief merchant, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor
Opportunities: “To increase newness with differentiated and exclusive assortments. We are excited about launching Karl Lagerfeld this spring and continuing to grow B Brian Atwood, which we delivered in the fall and has been [doing] terrific.”
Challenges: “To win in 2016, we need to improve the consumer experience. We need to deliver compelling fashion with a strong price/value message. We need to offer the consumer a great shopping environment both in-store and online. Everything we do is consumer-centric.”
Bob Campbell, chairman and CEO, BBC International
Opportunities: “To continue to build our international business, which is thriving. In particular, we want to keep marketing and expanding our Heelys brand globally. It has been a big success for us.”
Challenges: “Sourcing our children’s footwear amid all the new rules and regulations is a huge challenge, especially in China. We have an extensive, professional compliance team both here and abroad, but it’s something we have to constantly be on top of. We take it seriously and leave no stone unturned.”
Kevin Bailey, president, Vans and VF Action Sports
Opportunities: “We will continue to invest in understanding global consumers and how they shop. The marketplace is undergoing seismic changes in both bricks and clicks. Consumers have never had more power. Examining their behaviors and communicating Vans’ 50th anniversary brand story will be critical to establish the runway to Vans’ future.”
Challenges: “Global market economics and currency fluctuations wreaked havoc on 2015. Vans adapted well to these factors, but this appears to be the new normal. Vans must remain vigilant and agile to ensure that we deliver innovative product, engaging marketing and, of course, financial results.”
Patrik Frisk, CEO, Aldo Group
Opportunity: “To elevate our brand experience and make it accessible wherever, however and whenever our target consumer decides to engage with us.
Challenge: “Continue the adjustment of aligning with the end consumer’s behavior and how they choose to engage with our brand.”