Just two days after Kohl’s said Doug Howe was stepping down from his post as chief merchandising officer, the retail veteran has landed at Designer Brands. The executive is the new president of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, and will also have an EVP title at the parent company.
As president of DSW, Howe will be responsible for day-to-day leadership of the company and bringing DSW’s differentiated customer experience and desired brands to life across direct-to-consumer channels, Designer Brands said in a statement. Howe will report directly to Designer Brands’ CEO Roger Rawlins.
Prior to Kohl’s, Howe held prior leadership positions across merchandising, design, product development and planning at Qurate Retail Group, Old Navy, Walmart, and May Department Stores.
“I’m privileged to join DSW as we evolve retail to the next level, with a determined focus on customers, offering the best owned and national brands and delivering products with incredible speed,” said Howe in a statement. “DSW is more than just a place to buy shoes, it’s an innovative enterprise on multiple fronts. With so much synergy fueling DSW’s business plans, I’m excited to partner with all DSW associates to continue the momentum and growth for the future.”
“Designer Brands and DSW are hyper-focused on maintaining our edge across the competitive landscape,” added Rawlins, who had been serving as interim DSW president. “I have the highest confidence in Doug’s leadership to guide us in our stores and e-commerce operations to benefit our owned brands, while focusing on the athletic and fashion brands that our 28 million loyalty customers love. DSW has a bright future ahead with Doug’s proven retail experience helping advance our business priorities of customers, brands and speed.”
This news comes as DSW is in a period of growth and evolution after announcing it would roll out a revamped “store of the future,” model in April which consolidates the retailer’s 20,000 to 25,000 square foot-stores into more efficient 15,000 square-foot locations and uses digital technology to tell brand stories. These revamped stores, which will includes brand-specific shop-in-shops and displays, will allow DSW’s partner brands to better expand their own DTC presences.
Designer Brands also outlined its five-year financial roadmap at its annual investor day in April. By fiscal year 2026, the company expects to hit annual revenue of $4 billion, with a gross profit margin of 35% and an operating margin of 9%. The company also anticipates earnings per share between $2.75 and $2.85.