Has DSW found its footing in the challenging retail landscape?

DSW had a tough start in the first quarter of 2017, but comps turned positive in April and the shoe retailer is ready to capitalize on that momentum.

Decreasing same-store sales have been the bane of many a retailer, and DSW has not escaped the challenging environment unscathed. But although same-store sales for the quarter dipped by 3%, it wasn’t as big a decrease as expected. Like many of the retailers coping with dwindling store traffic, DSW is banking on differentiation to turn things around.

The retailer’s efforts to differentiate its merchandise have produced a number of new brands and exclusive opportunities. It has secured the exclusive right, for example, to sell differentiated content from Adidas ahead of other retailers across the country — thereby incentivizing shoppers with product they won’t be able to find anywhere else and giving them a reason to head to its stores. DSW will also be offering its first collection of Underarmor adults and kid's footwear during the back-to-school season.

“We're testing a new layout that creates significant additional capacity that allows us to hold more customer choices in every location. We are also strengthening our visual merchandising in a way that presents product stories as powerfully in every warehouse as we do online. This new layout enables us to reclaim 30% of our existing cubic capacity for future market share opportunities. And increased capacity also gives us more flexibility to optimize DSW's existing locations and footprint,” added CEO Roger Rawlins.

An embattled Rawlins made it very clear that, in a sea of sameness, DSW intends to be one of the survivors. “We are singularly focused on creating great product and innovating new experiences that will nurture deeper, more meaningful relationships with our customer. I look forward to reporting our progress next quarter.”


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