The American shoe group Caleres has bought Allen Edmonds, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of Goodyear welted shoes, for $ 255 million. As usual in similar takeovers customers are worried about what will happen with the brand and what can be changed. There is both cause for concern and calmness.

 

Caleres, previously know as Brown Shoe Company, is a giant in the US footwear industry. For example they own chaing store Famous Footwear, which has over 1 000 stores in the United States, a counterpart to the Nilson here at home, you could say. They also own many footwear brands, mainly on the women’s side, like Sam Edelman, Diane von Furstenberg, Vince, Fergie Footwear, Franco Sarto, Dr. Scholl’s Shoes and more. As apparent, Allen Edmonds is a  totally different kind of footwear brand, which is much more premium than the rest of the lineup. The just under 100 years old Allen Edmonds produces over half a million shoes a year, most still in the US, and is a very strong brand, not least on their home market.

 

Light Brown classics from Allen Edmonds. Images: Allen Edmonds

Light brown classics from Allen Edmonds. Images: Allen Edmonds

 

Caleres million dollar purchase of Edmonds has of course caused a great debate among its customers, not least after Caleres’ CEO Diane Sullivan talked about expansion and joint material sourcing. As an example the discussions at the forum Ask Andy About Clothes was so lively that Allen Edmonds CEO Paul Grangaard himself felt compelled to step in and give his view of the takeover. Greengard will continue as CEO, which is a sign that Caleres at least not initially plan to make some big changes in AE. Paul Greengard says that it’s an advantage that they are alone in its segment at Caleres, that this means that they can continue to work in their own way without having to navigate around other brands within the same group. He also writes that even if they want to grow, they want to continue on the chosen path, they will continue to invest in production in the Massachusetts town Port Washington, any collaborations in material sourcing is about single components and lasts, and the management and staff remains as before. Allen Edmonds has also previously had several large owners through the years, but it hasn’t mean the end of the world, for example it’s the private equity firm Brentwood Associates which now sells Allen Edmonds, after having owned it since in 2013.
What one can say is that it is impossible to know what the acquisition will mean for now, only time will tell what Caleres ownership means for Edmonds.