FN CEO Summit: Hot Talk on Hot Issues

The shoe industry's top players shared their winning strategies.

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Richard Johnson

Photo By Moritz & Co.

For her part, Libby Edelman, SVP of Sam Edelman (and an avid Instagram user), said that reaching out by email and interacting with the consumer via social media is vital. “They want to get emails every day,” said Edelman. “I do. I love it. It inspires me to shop.”

Foot Locker EVP and COO Richard Johnson shared that the athletic retailer has used social media to improve its customer service efforts.

“It’s made customer service immediate,” he said. “It also keeps us all on our toes to make sure we have great engagement with our customers.”

Connecting with consumers is also a priority when it comes to traditional advertising.

Sullivan said Famous Footwear’s feel-good “Victory Is Yours” commercials — part of her overall strategy to get more personal with consumers — have resonated very strongly.

She previewed a new iteration of the campaign that celebrates motherhood in an upcoming commercial. “Winning customers’ hearts and minds takes a personal approach,” Sullivan said.

Channel Changers
Whether targeting hot markets with brick-and-mortar stores or tapping into omnichannel, retailers are finding fresh opportunities in a competitive climate.

Dubreuil discovered a lot of potential in Miami, which was lacking a major fashion luxury destination. That’s why she decided to open The Webster there three years ago. “Miami is close to New York, and it’s the gateway to South America and Latin America,” said Dubreuil. “Plus, there was no competition — no multibrand [designer] stores.”

Johnson said his firm is testing out reworked concepts of its Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction and Kids and Lady Foot Locker banners, to reach more diversified consumers.

“We know our customers are multichannel-oriented,” Johnson said of the new store formats, which will represent a $60 million spend for the firm this year. “Our increased investment is to make sure we keep moving forward.”

Creating a cross-channel environment is top of mind at Aldo Group. The company, which already has transformed into a global firm in just the last decade, now views that strategy as a big opportunity. “The prospect of a brave new world is tremendous,” said Douglas Bensadoun, creative director and VP of marketing at Aldo Group. “Today, our customer is shopping differently. That’s our next transformation.”

Key sponsors of the FN CEO Summit included Two Ten Footwear Foundation, the Dallas Shoe Market, Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, FFANY and Attendance and networking sponsors included American Apparel & Footwear Association, Neptune Advisors, Hilco, TSG Consumer Partners, FN Platform, Micro-Pak USA, Sterne Agee, Prism Skylabs, Martens & Heads, Messe Dusseldorf, JC Edward, Rival Shoe Design, Soles4Souls, RetailPro, Banks Group and Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.

As an FN subscriber, you can save 20 percent on video coverage of the FN CEO Summit when you visit and use code 2013FNCEO.  For more video from past Fairchild Summits, visit



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