Why DSW Is Teaming Up With a Midwestern Grocery Store Chain

DSW has an unexpected new partner.

In a release on Wednesday, DSW parent Designer Brands Inc. announced it is teaming up with Midwestern grocery store chain Hy-Vee. The first stage of the partnership will see DSW product made available on Hy-Vee.com

Then, in a pilot run, DSW footwear will be made available to buy in over 120 of Hy-Vee’s 265 outposts. After that, DSW plans to launch several shop-in-shops within Hy-Vee locations, as well as roll out a buy online, pick up in-store option.

“We are excited to be growing in new categories and delivering DSW’s mission of inspiring self-expression to Hy-Vee customers,” DBI CEO Roger Rawlins said in a release. “Our commercial team has positioned itself as the plug-and-play solution to grow in the footwear category.”

While the virus has caused DSW and other fashion retailers to temporarily shutter brick-and-mortar units, the crisis has created heightened demand for groceries and other household essentials. Delivery services and buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) have become increasingly popular options for consumers looking to limit time spent in stores amid the coronavirus outbreak. According to Adobe Analytics data, between Feb. 24 and March 21, BOPIS orders increased by 62% compared with the same period a year earlier.

With stores shuttered since mid-March, DBI, parent to DSW and its sister companies, in late March announced plans to furlough 80% of its workforce. For nearly all employees not furloughed, the company has implemented pay reductions. Base pay for executives has been cut by 20%, and cash retainers for non-employee board directors have been reduced by 20%. New hires and all merit increases have been frozen. Due to this uncertainty surrounding the virus, Designer Brands has decided not to provide an outlook for the 2020 fiscal year.

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