Designer Brands Acquires Topo Athletic As It Grows Owned Brand Assortment

Designer Brands Inc. has added another name to its growing roster of owned brands.

The DSW parent company today announced that it has acquired Topo Athletic, a U.S. maker of running, walking, hiking and comfort shoes. With this buy, DBI expands its assortment of athletic performance footwear and progresses in its owned brands strategy.

DBI announced in April a goal for sales from owned brands and Camuto Group national owned and licensed brands to double from 19% of the company’s revenue to almost one-third by 2026. In 2018, DBI acquired Camuto Group, which designs and develops the Vince Camuto brand and licenses footwear for Jessica Simpson and Lucky Brand.

DBI’s current portfolio of brands with licensing deals also includes Reebok, Hush Puppies, Crown Vintage, JLO Jennifer Lopez, Mix No. 6 and Kelly & Katie. In July, DBI announced an investment in Le Tigre 360 Global and entered a licensing agreement to exclusively design and produce Le Tigre footwear.

“Topo represents another exciting growth opportunity for Designer Brands and further propels us to our goal of doubling sales of our Owned Brands by 2026,” said Bill Jordan, president of Designer Brands, in a statement.

Tony Post, who founded Topo in 2012, will stay on board as CEO and will report to Jordan.

Earlier this month, DBI cut its full-year outlook due to a drop in consumer demand in Q3. However, net sales from DBI’s owned brands increased 25% in Q3 over last year.

The footwear retailer said that while consumer demand slowed in the last two weeks of October and into November due to inflation, more consumers opted for DSW’s exclusive owned brands, which typically sit at a lower price point than its national brands. Within owned brands, Crown Vintage was the most in-demand label in women’s boots in September and October. And Kelly & Katie grew in the triple digits in Q3 and was in the top three brands sold at DSW.

Across other retailers, shoppers are trading down to private brands to save money. Executives from Target, Kohl’s and Walmart said in recent earnings calls that more consumers have turned to these value-driven brands as inflation impacts the U.S.

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