Designer Brands Inc., one of North America’s largest footwear and accessories retailers, and parent company of DSW, Camuto Group and The Shoe Co., said Thursday it is reducing and reorganizing its workforce. The group plans to eliminate more than 1,000 positions, including about 380 corporate office and 700 store roles, many of which were already vacant.
About 250 corporate office and about 100 DSW store associates were laid off on Thursday and were not offered different roles. Another 550 store associates will be given the opportunity to remain with the company in a different role or they may choose to leave. DBI will offer those employees severance and an option to keep their benefits. All impacted associates will be eligible for mental wellness support.
The cuts are part of DBI’s reorganization as a result of COVID-19 to better align with customers’ changing shopping habits and to accelerate its market share growth. The company has made significant investments in its digital infrastructure, creating new job roles while eliminating others, and reprioritizing its assortment of footwear brands.
“We appreciate the contribution of every one of our associates, and we do not take these decisions lightly,” said Roger Rawlins, chief executive officer of Designer Brands. “In light of COVID-19 and the accompanying impact to the business, which includes rapidly changing customer behavior, we’ve had to make essential changes to build a sustainable future for the company. Our reorganizational efforts will help us build a strong organization anchored by digital innovation, creating differentiating products and experiences for the evolving shopper and growing our market share. We are now living in the new normal, and we are creating a new way forward.”
In a letter to employees, Rawlins noted that while online orders were strong during the months-long store closures, “e-commerce/digital sales cannot make up for in-store sales.” He said that while most of the stores have reopened, consumers’ in-store shopping habits haven’t returned to prior levels. He noted that the company has shifted its focus to prioritizing the top 50 brands in footwear, with particular emphasis on athletic, ath-leisure and kids.
He also noted that they are further integrating the Camuto Group organization into the larger Designer Brands organization and will focus its attention on fewer Camuto-produced brands. Last week, the company said it was closing the Sole Society business.