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DSW taps Kohl’s merchandising head as president

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A high-ranking Kohl’s executive is taking over the day-to-day leadership of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse.

DSW parent company Designer Brands Inc. has named Doug Howe president of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse and executive VP of Designer Brands. 

As president of DSW, Howe will be responsible for day-to-day leadership of the company and overseeing DSW's differentiated customer experience and brands across direct-to-consumer channels. Howe will report directly to Designer Brands' CEO Roger Rawlins, and his appointment is effective in late May 2022.

Howe is a 30-plus-year retail veteran with deep experience in vertical and national brand building and direct-to-consumer growth. He most recently served as chief merchandising officer at Kohl's, and has also held prior leadership positions across merchandising, design, product development and planning at Qurate Retail Group, Old Navy, Walmart, and May Department Stores. Howe is a graduate of Creighton University with a degree in business administration and management.

"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. "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," said CEO Roger Rawlins. "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."

Howe is assuming his new role at DSW following Designer Brands saying its owned brands will be the key driver of growth during the next five years, and that it plans to double sales of the brands by fiscal 2026.

Designer Brands said it plans to maintain relationships with top national brand partners “who utilize our leading omnichannel capabilities in their own DTC efforts in ways unique to DBI.” The company is targeting revenue of $4 billion and earnings per share in the range of $2.75 to $2.85 in fiscal 2026, which ends Jan. 30, 2027.

Designer Brands is one of North America's largest designers, producers, and retailers of footwear and accessories. Designer Brands operates a portfolio of retail concepts in nearly 700 locations under the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, The Shoe Company, and Shoe Warehouse banners, including 519 U.S. DSW stores.

Designer Brands designs and produces footwear and accessories through Camuto Group, a 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 brands including Vince Camuto and Louise et Cie.

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