- Mar 1, 2011
- Reaction score
Are those the only outlet stores currently open? I have not had good luck with the staff at Brookfield (closest to me although a 4 hour one way drive). If I'm going to drive 4 hours, might as well hit the full retail store in Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, better service, better selection, but full retail price.Hey guys.
We've seen some talk about the closure of some of our outlet centers recently and wanted to shed some light on that topic...
Outlet centers have changed over the years. As you know, many outlet stores carry lesser product that is produced specifically to be sold at a lower price. Meanwhile, we continue to produce the majority of our products ourselves and our outlets carry true factory seconds.
1. We can't build a model for the outlet stores. What they carry is a byproduct of our mistakes. This makes size integrity and class integrity hard to maintain.
2. The quality of the materials is the same as the shoes our full-line stores and website carry, so the cost of goods is the same. Our price points are higher than the "outlet customer" is historically used to paying, as a result. Consequently, a large portion of the sales in our outlet stores is done with customers who are not walking through the doors. That makes physical store location a tough thing to nail.
We've closed a handful of outlets to get the outlet store count to a place that makes sense for now, and that we can build from. That might mean some non-traditional physical sites in the future. Warehouse space, mixed use, etc. The brick and mortar retail landscape is definitely evolving. It has been for years, and the consumer responses post-pandemic will likely accelerate those changes.
I can assure you we are not going to stop making our own shoes. If anything, we're exploring ways to expand the capability of our Wisconsin factory. (Did you know we've purchased new corner-stitching machinery in Port and are test producing Strand sneakers there?)
Another guarantee is we won't stop messing up some of the shoes we make () so outlet stores will continue to be an important part of our retail business - Just not as many as we had in the past.
Port, Brookfield, Charleston, and Mebane remain open, so I encourage you to support those businesses as you can.