Some shoppers will soon be able to buy shoes during a quick trip to the grocery store.
Five months after announcing its partnership with Hy-Vee Inc., Designer Brands Inc. has officially begun rolling out DSW shop-in-shops at the Midwestern supermarket chain’s outposts. By Oct. 2, the retailer plans to have six boutiques open at the grocer’s units in Minneapolis. Additional locations are slated to launch in other Hy-Vees next year.
“We are thrilled to deliver Hy-Vee customers a convenient way to purchase footwear through a digitally-supported in-store experience that offers customers — regardless of their shopping preference — multiple options to view, try and buy shoes,” Designer Brands chief growth officer Bill Jordan said in a statement. “Designer Brands continues to innovate the retailing experience, and we remain committed to bring our customers differentiated experiences and address their evolving shopping habits.”
Each store is about 1,200 square feet, and DSW will offer about 200 styles on-site, plus 100 others that are displayed on a so-called “Digital Showroom Wall,” which houses a product assortment of kids, men’s and women’s shoes. (Customers can view and scan their selections from the wall to have products either ordered for delivery or available to pick up at their local Hy-Vee on their next grocery run.)
The partnership presents a unique opportunity for DSW: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the shoe chain and many other fashion companies were forced to temporarily shutter their brick-and-mortar units. As grocery stores see heightened demand for household supplies or essential items, DSW can stand to benefit as consumers are increasingly limiting their trips outdoors to one-stop shopping in an effort to prevent contracting COVID-19.
In the second quarter ended Aug. 1, Designer Brands reported an adjusted loss of $92 million, or an adjusted loss of $1.28 per diluted share, compared with market watchers’ estimates of a loss of 85 cents per share. Revenues sank 42.8% to $489.7 million, while analysts forecasted sales of $596.46 million. With the global health crisis still keeping many consumers indoors, CEO Roger Rawlins suggested that the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer would pivot away from dress, formal and special occasion footwear toward more comfort-driven styles.