Sixty Allen Edmonds jobs cut at Port factory

Owner of shoe company that employs 300 people announces layoffs last week

AN ALLEN EDMONDS employee assembled a pair of shoes at the company’s Port Washington factory in October shortly after the company rolled out a national advertising campaign. The St. Louis-based footware company Caleres, which owns Allen Edmonds, announced the layoffs of 60 employees at the Port facility last week. Press file photo
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press staff

St. Louis-based footwear company Caleres announced last week it laid off about 60 employees at its Allen Edmonds manufacturing plant in Port Washington.

The announcement was made Monday, Jan. 28, and the job cuts were effective immediately, leaving the Port Washington production facility with about 300 employees.

The vast majority of the approximately 60 people affected were factory workers, Caleres spokesman David Baldridge said.

Baldridge said the job cuts were necessary to “align our manufacturing capacity with consumer demand in order to position Allen Edmonds for continued growth.”

But he declined to comment on whether that meant Allen Edmonds shoe sales are declining.      

The job layoffs come after Allen Edmonds launched its “Real Shoes” national TV campaign in September featuring celebrities like Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

In addition to TV commercials, Allen Edmonds started a multi-faceted advertising campaign across its platforms, including stores, e-commerce, packaging, catalogs, digital advertising and social media, with new branding highlighting its roots in Port Washington

Allen Edmonds President Malcom Robinson said in an interview the company is seeking a younger demographic by focusing on the 35-to-44-age range, which spurred the company’s rebrand.

Caleres bought the luxury shoe company in December 2016. Allen Edmonds had been owned by several private-equity firms over the last 20 years.

Founded in Belgium in 1922 by Elbert W. Allen, the company was originally named Allen-Spiegel Shoe Company.

Allen Edmonds gained much of its following during World War II when it provided shoes to servicemen.

Allen Edmonds moved its headquarters to 201 E. Seven Hills Rd., Port Washington, after a fire destroyed its original factory.

Today, the company has 79 stores.

Allen Edmonds is among a small number of companies that produces shoes domestically.

About 98% of all shoes sold in the country are made overseas.

Baldridge would not say if Caleres will make any further job cuts or changes to the Allen Edmonds brand.

The laid off workers will receive 60 days of pay, severance, benefit assistance and outplacement services, Baldridge said.

 

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