Town Shoes Repositions to Focus on Growth

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By Mario Toneguzzi

The Town Shoes banner in Canada has recently been consolidated and re-positioned in the right way so that it is truly focused on being the fashion authority in footwear in the appropriate markets, says the company’s president.

Simon Nankervis, president of Town Shoes and chief commercial officer of DSW Inc., told Retail Insider that the company has had a “real focus on revitalizing the Town Shoes banner to position it back to the brand it was which was the leading brand in fashion footwear.”

“And a place that a consumer can go and actually trust they’re being given the latest true authority on fashion footwear . . . Our Town Shoes banner itself has contracted. We closed a number of under-performing stores as we looked to re-position it. It really is now a banner that is focused predominantly on full service, High Street and A / B mall presentations around better and affordable luxury product. It is about merging the fashion footwear brands to emerging fashion trends and  focused on that fashion consumer who is looking for the latest and greatest in quality fashion footwear.”

Town Shoes Limited is the largest branded footwear retailer in Canada with the following brands: Town Shoes, The Shoe CompanyShoe Warehouse and DSW Canada.

There are 181 stores across the country with the exception of Quebec. The store breakdown is as follows: 41 Town Shoes; 24 DSW; 40 Shoe Warehouse and 76 Shoe Company.

“We have every intention of entering (the Quebec) market,” says Nankervis, who divides his work time between Toronto and Columbus, Ohio. “It doesn’t make sense to not talk to those 21 per cent of the Canadian population.”

“Even as we think about entering Quebec, we would see ourselves opening a couple of additional Town stores in that market because we would be reaching the appropriate customer in those markets.”

But it’s not certain what time frame that will take place.

Nankervis says the company still believes there’s opportunities for growth in the other three banners.

“DSW is really around a fashion trend consumer who is looking for the latest and greatest fashion but looking for it at good value and reasonable pricing,” he says.

“Then we have The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse customer which is really more of a family consumer who is looking for essential everyday footwear but still wants to make sure they’re wearing something that is trend right, functional but is really mindful it is more of a family consumer.”

Besides re-positioning Town Shoes, the company has also been focused on the launch and growth of DSW stores in Canada and penetrating that market with a particular focus on the Millennial consumer who is interested in trending fashion.

Nankervis says its third focus has been on the kids business at The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse and how they can become the leading destination for kids and junior footwear.

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email:

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: October 23, 2017

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