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Thread: Allen Edmonds Acquired by Famous Footwear's Parent Company

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillN View Post

    If I was a betting man, I'd wager on a small line of made in USA shoes remaining at a premium price point, and the bulk of the brand pushed offshore.
    This has basically been what's happened to Johnston and Murphy - their Crown Aristocraft line is made in the USA and is still at least on a par with AE and is even more expensive (equivalent MSRP but without the frequent sales) but they only make black shoes and there are about three models. Even if you add in the Custom Select line - where the purchaser can choose different sizes on each foot and gets a bunch of extras thrown in, too - there are 10 or fewer options, I believe. The Aristocraft line (Hyde Park, Aldwych) is a sort of intermediate level between the CA and the regular J&M line - it's goodyear welted with decent leathers, but is made in India, if I recall correctly. I don't think they're bad shoes, but they're too pricy at $275 considering how much lower the labor costs on them must be. Perhaps the same is true of the Handcrafted in Italy line, which I think uses decent leathers and has some very interesting styles, but is mostly "bond welted."

    Florshiem at least pretends to have done this, too, as it still has its Limited Edition, Imperial, and Royal Imperial lines, all of which are still goodyear welted. But I don't think any of them are made in the USA. Perhaps the Royal Imperial line is. At least on the Imperial line, I think the leathers are somewhat ropy, too, as they're quite shiny. Not quite J&M Melton shiny, but shiny nonetheless.

  2. #42
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    Yeah, that's true about the small size of the customer base - although I do think that more upper-middle class men are open to the idea that they should buy quality clothes than in the past. I just got asked to be in a wedding party, and the groom - and more importantly the bride - asked me for my input on clothing options. At first, I thought they wanted a $150 suit from Mens Wearhouse or Macys, but I explained the benefits of half-canvas construction, slimmer fits, and nicer fabrics, and they were definitely sold on SuitSupply after that. Although the groom isn't yet sure whether he'll be able to fit a SuitSupply suit. The bride wants the whole wedding party to wear the same suit, so I talked my way out of $400 if they do end up going with SuitSupply! Fortunately, they are looking at a mid-dark but far from navy option, which would at least not duplicate suits I already own.

    Agreed on the outsourcing. There's no immediate need to panic, but if there's an announcement that AE is offshoring labor and/or cutting the number of steps in the production process, we'll all have to buy off the existing stock and then move on to other manufacturers. I go to the UK once a year or so, so it wouldn't matter much to me. I've been meaning to try Loake, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillN View Post
    People who read menswear blogs & forums (and current AE customers)are a very small drop in a very big retail barrel.

    Will this happen with AE? Who knows, but watch for news on the WI factory first. Cutting jobs/production there will be the canary in the coal mine.

  3. #43
    Varsity Member Sideswipe's Avatar
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    Trying not to be too gloom & doom about the whole thing, but it does seem like there's downside than upside to the acquisition. That said, if the downside scenario ends up being the J&M model (which I agree is most likely), as long as I can still get the AE classic line-up, made in WI the same quality and price point as today, I'll happily ignore any imported diffusion lines they introduce.

    All that said, I'll definitely be accelerating a couple of purchases I've been considering and can already feel myself fighting the urge to buy back-ups for my current shoes.
    “There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?'"
    "The mood will pass, sir.”

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    I think the AE factory was one of the things they were interested in. Do I doubt they are going to shut it down. They might also make some of their other brands there.

    I would be surprised if they don't expand the recraftable™ program.

    What I would worry about is the Shoe bank and prices.

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    This exact kind of pressure happened to Bass, Dexter, Nunn Bush, Florsheim, Cole Hann, Johnston & Murphy, Hanover, Bostonian, Sebago, and hundreds of other companies I can't think of. All 9 I have listed are only a shell of their former selves. They've been GUTTED by corporate interests. No one these days wants Nunn Bush because they are horrible, but they used to actually make fairly good shoes.

    All you guys that are trying to see this in some naive optimistic way, please remember that this liquidation and extermination of American manufacturing shoe companies has been a formula that's been followed for at more than forty years.

    The only two that are actually left standing have been Alden and Allen Edmonds. Seems like Alden will be the last hold out.



    Article from 1986, U.S. Shoe Business Is Booming--With Imports : New England Plants Closed, Workers Fired as Firms Use Cheap Foreign Labor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocco View Post
    Isn't it the current thinking that male consumers are increasingly conscious about buying quality clothing and apparel??

    I would only ask you if you have you ever been to H+M? Primark?

    Race to the bottom.

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    Varsity Member Rocco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evanparker View Post
    I would only ask you if you have you ever been to H+M? Primark?

    Race to the bottom.
    The fact that those kinds of places exist doesn't preclude what I said. What about the rise of #menswear? What about AE's core traditional buyers? There is still a market for those people, and because of the internet, they would be more easily informed about a decline in quality than the consumers of 1986, or whenever all those other heritage brands were cheapened.
    Last edited by Rocco; December 16th, 2016 at 08:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evanparker View Post
    I would only ask you if you have you ever been to H+M? Primark?

    Race to the bottom.
    ^^

    A company that already makes all of its shoes in China and Vietnam such as Caleres gives 0 f's about heritage, quality or core bases. If making an AE women's line in China is what brings in the money then that is what happens. To think that somehow AE is excluded from the fate that has met other much more important mens shoemakers is not realistic. During the US industries' height, AE wasn't even a very important player. A lot more important names have fallen. Alden's saving grance is that it's low volume, family owned.
    You can never have enough shoes

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    Well this is disappointing to hear. I hope the refracting program stays in place, (and with the same quality), as I hope to continue to own and wear my current AEs for years and years to come.

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    Yeah, this is sadly likely. Alden's a small enough operation that a large conglomerate isn't likely to see potential for great profit in converting it into a higher volume enterprise. AE is already enough like a regular mall store to make it seem like a good idea to generate revenue by making it even more like a mall store. By that, I mean that the constant sales, the endless introduction of new styles and colors, and the continual decisions to discontinue styles and models, only to bring them back again shortly afterwards, makes AE seem like it could transition to the more profitable model easily. For one thing, it's a larger scale enterprise than Alden.

    (For example, in the last month, it has reintroduced the McTavish, the MacNeil, the Cronmok, the Buckstrand, the Lexington, the Sanford, and bourbon, only to put all of them straight back into clearance, while adding various new models such as the Oak Street, the Leiden weave and suede, the Dundee suede, all the brown grain models, and the Strandmok. While there are no doubt good business reasons for doing this, it makes it look to me like they're constantly chasing a quick buck, so I can see why Caleres would think they can easily be retooled to do that even more effectively).

    N.B. It's not quite clear that bourbon is in clearance. It might just be on a sale. But they do so on the front page that it's "for a limited time only." I don't know whether that means the color is back for a limited time only or the sale price is for a limited time only.

    Quote Originally Posted by MNJ83 View Post
    ^^

    A company that already makes all of its shoes in China and Vietnam such as Caleres gives 0 f's about heritage, quality or core bases. If making an AE women's line in China is what brings in the money then that is what happens. To think that somehow AE is excluded from the fate that has met other much more important mens shoemakers is not realistic. During the US industries' height, AE wasn't even a very important player. A lot more important names have fallen. Alden's saving grance is that it's low volume, family owned.

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