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Allen Edmonds sale not expected to impact jobs at local factory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Jaeger   
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 19:17

Port shoemaker purchased for $255 million by parent company of Famous Footwear

It was announced Tuesday that Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp., the Port Washington-based maker of high-end footwear, has been purchased by Caleres Inc. for $225 million in cash and revolving credit.

The transaction was completed Tuesday afternoon, and employees were informed later that day.

Company officials assured its workers, including 750 in the U.S. — including about 450 in Port Washington — and about 300 overseas, that their jobs would be retained.

Caleres, based in Clayton, Mo., is the parent company for the Famous Footwear chain of shoe stores.

Although Allen Edmonds has its roots in Ozaukee County, the company has been owned by Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, since 2011.

Allen Edmonds President and CEO Paul Grangaard said that Caleres was courted as a strategic buyer over a period of months, and will essentially operate the company as an independent brand.

According to the trade publication Footwear News, Caleres President and CEO Diane Sullivan said the Allen Edmonds brand will become a “cornerstone” of its emerging men’s line.

“We were looking for a great brand that has scale and size and that could be a cornerstone for our company, and Allen Edmonds just fit the bill,” Sullivan told the shoe-focused journal.

“They have amazingly high brand equity and a loyal customer base — over 70% of their customers said they would recommend the brand, which we thought was unheard of.”

Caleres reported annual revenues of about $2 billion, with about 11,000 employees and 1,200 retail stores.

Specializing largely in women’s footwear, its brands include Via Spiga, Diane von Furstenberg, Fergie Footwear, Naturizer, Dr. Scholl’s, Lifestride, Bzees, Franco Sarto, George Brown Bilt and Sam Edelman. Much of its shoe production is done in China.

Allen Edmonds was founded in Belgium in 1922, by Elbert W. Allen as the Allen-Spiegel Shoe Co. The company got its name after Bill “Pops” Edmonds partnered with Allen.

Over the decades, it has developed an international reputation for handcrafted shoes using a 212-step production process.

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