In the shoe industry, one size does not fit all. That goes for footwear design, style, even price. By combining a new store-design concept with innovative technology solutions, including price optimization, assortment planning and employee training, Nine West Footwear Corp. is putting its best foot forward to remain a fresh brand among its trendy shoppers.
Nine West Footwear, New York City, is comprised of some of the fashion industry’s most recognized brands. The company, a division of Jones Apparel Group, includes Nine West retail and outlet stores, Bandolino retail stores, and Aerosoles retail stores, as well as an apparel, or ready-to-wear division that features the high-end Jones New York, Casper and Anne Klein brands. The entire Nine West conglomerate operates approximately 1,000 stores.
The division has built its strong reputation on its ability to keep merchandise—and its shopping experience—fresh for its customers. Yet, Nine West felt its footwear brands were in need of a boost.
“From a competitive standpoint, it is important for us to stay fresh in the marketplace,” said Jay Friedman, president, company-owned retail footwear and apparel, Jones Apparel Group. “We are constantly reviewing different issues of our business and one point that kept resonating was that it was time to reinvigorate our store design.”
Nine West grew tired of featuring racks of shoes “that became confusing to shop and hard to navigate,” he said. “Realizing this was not a competitive way to go, we decided it was time for a new direction in store design.”
The new design focuses on clearly displaying merchandise and delivering service that contributes to a more appealing shopping experience. Besides adding new lighting “that enables product to ‘pop,’” Friedman explained, the company made a significant investment to further enhance the layout.
“To ensure that we have great product available to our shoppers, we needed technology to manage our assortment,” he said.
The first step in upholding the new store design was to reduce the number of SKUs (stockkeeping units) displayed in each store. To better manage these assortments, the company deployed a new solution from SAP, Newton, Pa.
After the planning team creates product and unit plans on a per store basis, the plans are fed into an inventory-allocation application th