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Coldwater Creek and DSW Announce Strategic Moves

Boston Addressing the Oppenheimer & Co. Consumer Growth Conference on Tuesday, Coldwater Creek chief executive and president Daniel Griesemer outlined a strategic path to profitability that included improved product offerings, improved operation efficiencies and a more prudent, managed approach to growth.

In addition to focusing on opportunistic leases and store openings in selective locations, Coldwater Creek will re-focus its merchandising strategy on pant-and-jacket ensembles, which account for an estimated 50% of sales.

In his presentation, Griesemer expressed disappointment with the company’s recent performance, which he attributed in part to the “macro-environment” but also acknowledged the company had made “missteps” with product assortment.

Griesemer said the company will remain focused on improving its fashion offering to the core demographic it serves, women between the ages of 45 and 65 years. This demographic represents more than 40% of the female population in the United States, according to Griesemer.

Doug Probst, CFO of footwear retailer DSW, also presented at the Consumer Growth Conference and said his company will focus on smaller stores, taking the standard 25,000-sq.-ft. prototype down to about 17,000 sq. ft.

Additionally, DSW will work to improve the in-store shopping experience, looking at lighting and bathroom enhancements. As for product, Probst said it is important for the merchandise selection to remain fashionable and dress-shoe sales are the company’s “sweet spot.”

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