Naturalizer to close stores in shift to online

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Naturalizer to close stores in shift to online

By Marianne Wilson - 11/20/2020

The nearly 100-year-old Naturalizer brand is making a big pivot to digital.

Caleres, parent company of Naturalizer, Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds and other brands, announced that it plans to close 133 Naturalizer stores in the United States and Canada, leaving it with only a couple of locations. In addition to the store closures, Caleres said it will right-size the back-office infrastructure to better align with the reduced store footprint, shift talent to amplify its digital presence and reallocate capital to further enhance its e-commerce platform and capabilities.

Caleres expects pre-tax charges in the fourth quarter of between $20 million and $25 million. Once the closures are finalized, it anticipates a pre-tax benefit of between $10 million and $12 million each year.

In a statement, Diane Sullivan, chairman, president and CEO of Caleres, said that since the pandemic, a larger percentage of Naturalizer’s sales have been originating online and “now is the opportune time to shed the legacy stores and evolve it to be more profitable.”

“Like the rest of the industry we have seen a structural shift in the shopping behavior of the consumer – a change that has been further accelerated by the global health crisis,” Sullivan said. “We are confident this step will better align the brand with the Naturalizer consumer of the future and position the brand for growth and further success.”

On the company’s earnings call with investors, Sullivan said the company will focus on growing Naturalizer’s e-commerce business through the brand’s own site and its retail partners’ sites.

“Make no mistake, we continue to view the Naturalizer brand as a strong and value-driving component of our portfolio,” she said.