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DSW debuts store of the future design

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DSW is reimagining its store design with a new, smaller-size concept that puts the spotlight on its owned brands.

Designer Brands Inc., parent of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, unveiled its "warehouse reimagined" store format at Hedwig Village in Houston. At about 15,000 sq. ft., the new format is smaller than a traditional DSW, which averages about 25,000 sq. ft., but offers the same amount of inventory due to design optimization.

The new Houston store features a modern warehouse-inspired design that elevates the company's owned brands through shop-in-shops, full family offerings and head-to-toe lifestyle imagery. (DSW, whose owned brands portfolio includes Vince Camuto, Jessica Simpson, Lucky Brand, Hush Puppies and more, is looking for these brands to account for nearly 30% of sales by 2026.)

[Read More: DSW parent to focus on owned brands to drive growth, raises full-year outlook]

In addition, well-known national brands are highlighted with dedicated sections that prominently display products for easy viewing and selection by store customers.  It’s a big change from the typical DSW where all brands are merchandised together and are organized mostly by style.

The new format features product displays with oversized graphics and store walls that are flexible and modular to adapt to each location's planned promotions. A dedicated kids' section presents products at their eye level and make shopping fun with interactive games and the ability for kids to size themselves and select their own products. Rounding out the enhancements are easier-to-find selections and merchandising based on customers' shopping habits.

In addition, the format features expanded and upgraded services, self-checkouts and online order pick-up areas to make the shopping experience more convenient. Optimization of space helps ensure that top items are always in stock, the company said.

"Warehouse Reimagined allows us to showcase our national brands with shop-in-shops, together with owned brands and associated experiences that elevate brands in the eyes of the customer," said Designer Brands CEO Roger Rawlins. "This new store format is an immersive experience – by the customer, for the customer – and brings to bear our proven capability to retail brands the way customers want.”

Rawlins added that the company leaned heavily on customer insights and digital capabilities to showcase its owned brands and is partnering with top national brands to give customers “an exciting 360-degree experience.”

“We will learn much from this launch by bringing our product assortment to life, maximizing our retail footprint and moving forward with our mission to inspire self-expression,” Rawlins said.

Designer Brands is one of North America's largest designers, producers, and retailers of footwear and accessories. The company operates a portfolio of retail concepts in nearly 700 locations under the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse banners.

Designer Brands designs and produces footwear and accessories through Camuto Group, a leading manufacturer selling in more than 5,400 stores worldwide. Camuto Group owns licensing rights for the Jessica Simpson footwear business and footwear and handbag licenses for Lucky Brand. In partnership with a joint venture with Authentic Brands Group, Designer Brands also owns a stake in Vince Camuto, Louise et Cie and others.

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