In a presentation at the 2023 ICR Conference, Jay Schmidt, president, Caleres, Inc., said Famous Footwear plans to sharpen its focus on the Millennial mom to deepen the chain’s connections with the overall Millennial family.

“At Famous, we really have a target customer who is a Millennial mother,” said Schmidt. “And if you think about Famous, kids are clearly our differentiator and family is our home base and our strength and story. We know when she shops for herself and her family that she shops more often, she spends more, she returns more, and she connects more with us.”

One investment will be adding an “increased fashion component” to Famous’ mix so that when the mother comes in to buy something for her family, she finds something for herself. Schmidt said, “We are looking across the marketplace and trying to get a curated assortment that fits her needs better.”

Schmidt further said Caleres’ in-house brands, including Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds, Vionic and Blowfish, “actually fit nicely selectively in there to bring that to life. But what you’ll see as we go forward is that it’ll be more in the forefront as you walk into the store and then it’ll be an improvement as you’ll see in our messaging digitally going forward.”

Prior to their presentation, Caleres reaffirmed its financial outlook for consolidated sales, adjusted earnings per share and its inventory position for fiscal year 2022.

The outlook calls for:

  • Consolidated sales up between 4 percent and 6 percent compared to fiscal 2021;
  • Adjusted earnings per share between $4.30 and $4.40; and
  • Consolidated inventory up mid-single-digit percent compared to fiscal year 2021.

In reporting record third-quarter results, Caleres tightened its fiscal year 2022 earnings outlook at the upper end of its previous guidance range with the results expected to mark a record year.

Schmidt, Caleres’ president since January 2020, is set to replace Diane Sullivan as CEO on January 15.

“I am energized by the opportunity to lead the company,” said Schmidt at the ICR Conference.  “We have an amazing platform at Caleres to build on and we’ve made incredible progress over the last two years, and our prospects for long-term profitability are quite strong and that gives me great confidence going into the job.”

Asked about key priorities he has for Caleres as it moves into 2023, Schmidt said, “Our goals, and what’s important now when we think about kind of the turbulent environment we’re in, is to grow our customer base and strongly grow our market share. So we continue to do it. We’ve been taking share all year. And then, obviously, a new focus is on how to sustain these new levels of earnings we’re actually experiencing now at Caleres, which are truly exciting.”

At Famous specifically, the plan calls to “sharpen our focus on the millennial family” and “bring that to life across all touchpoints as we work with them in terms of product, stores, messaging, marketing, etc.”

On the merchandising side, Famous will aim to better “balance out our assortment between athletic and non-athletic and bring that to life. We feel that we can navigate and grow that piece of our business, particularly with our Millennial target.”

Expense management will remain a priority. Schmidt said, “We will be leveraging expenses across the portfolio and trying to allocate resources properly to maximize the business.”

Finally, Caleres will be working on reinforcing its culture across the organization and “building a culture of learning and caring and working in a cross-functional way like never before.”

Photo courtesy Famous Footwear/Kelly Towart