Caleres is beginning to bring its fleet back — but it’s taking a cautious approach.
The St. Louis-based company — parent to Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, Sam Edelman and more — has begun opening retail outposts in areas where restrictions have been loosened up. It plans to have about 435 locations reopened by the end of the month and expects the “vast majority” of in-store service to resume by the end of June.
“After careful and extensive planning, we are pleased to be taking this important step in the resumption of our store operations, which we view as a core component of the Caleres value proposition and an essential complement to our digital platform,” said CEO Diane Sullivan in a statement.
Similar to other retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Kohl’s, Caleres said it is taking numerous steps to keep employees and shoppers safe. The company is intensifying its cleaning and sanitizing procedures, as well as customizing its stores to allow for social distancing and contactless payments. Additionally, Caleres is continuing to expand its contactless curbside pickup service. The option has so far been added at about 170 outposts and is expected to be rolled out at roughly 300 stores by next week.
“It is critically important that we make every effort to ensure that our customers and associates feel confident, comfortable and safe as they return to a familiar shopping experience and work environment,” Sullivan said. “As we look toward the next round of store openings, we will take lessons from this first phase and adjust accordingly.”
In early April, Caleres announced that it was laying off and furloughing staff at its retail stores and distribution centers and in its corporate operations due to the coronavirus outbreak. The corporation did not share how many employees would be impacted but said those who remained onboard would see “a meaningful salary reduction,” including members of the executive leadership team.
Since the store closure period began in mid-March, Caleres says it has focused on managing costs, cutting capital expenditures, driving down inventory levels and bolstering its liquidity. These efforts, the company says, have led to a “stable cash position.” Further, it expects that the resumption of brick-and-mortar business and strength in e-commerce will lead to a “viable path to positive cash generation in the year’s second half.”