American Exchange Group (AX Group), which designs accessories and facilitates manufacturing and distribution for brands, has finalized a deal to acquire Aerosoles.
The new partnership is expected to help expand the footwear brand’s category assortment and distribution channels. Aerosoles is sold in over 40 countries and in retailers such as Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, Saks Off 5th, DSW, Zappos and Belk.
Aerosoles previously launched a distribution partnership with American Exchange Group in July. The two entities are collaborating on a strategy to launch a collection for off-price channels slated for spring of 2022. AX Group has previously created footwear for brands such as Adrienne Vittadini, Alexis Bendel, Marc Ecko and Mudd.
“This acquisition marks an exciting new chapter in the evolution of American Exchange Group,” said CEO of American Exchange Group Alen Mamrout in a release. “We look forward to supporting the future growth of this brand and are excited to welcome Aerosoles into our brand portfolio.”
Aerosoles’ leadership has recently focused on revamping the brand’s business after period of decline. In September 2017, former parent Aerogroup International Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time, the brand was deeply reliant on brick-and-mortar stores, especially in malls, where traffic had been declining steadily.
In early 2018, New York-based hedge fund Alden Golden Capital LLC acquired the brand’s assets for $26.2 million, preventing it from being liquidated. The fund tapped Alison Bergen as the brand’s CEO, who brought a background in leadership roles at Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors.
Since then, the brand has been going in a new “modern direction,” Bergen recently told FN. Part of the goal involved making Aerosoles more of a fashion-led brand.
“We make shoes that happen to be comfortable. But we’re not a ‘comfort’ footwear brand,” Bergen said. “That’s one of my biggest objectives: changing that mindset directly with consumers.”
Aerosoles also changed its distribution model and eliminated its brand-owned stores to focus on wholesale channels and its own website.