DSW taps former Miss USA as first style ambassador

Dive Brief:

  • DSW has tapped former Miss USA turned actress Olivia Culpo as its first-ever style ambassador, Women’s Wear Daily reports.

  • Culpo, who enjoys attention from some 1.7 million Instagram followers, will curate monthly collections through her feed as well as for the footwear retailer’s own website and digital platforms, according to the report. She will also make videos and e-mail blasts and personal appearances for DSW throughout the year.

  • In her first curation, she selected an Adidas sneaker, a high-heel sandal, a bootie, a pointed-toe flat and an athleisure slide.

Dive Insight:

DSW Chief Merchandising Officer Debbie Ferree said in a conference call with analysts last month that the retailer has seen more interest in women’s fashion. Now it’s ramping up its women’s fashion marketing, too, with its Culpo relationship. The former Miss USA’s formidable social media following was likely a major factor in the choice.

“Our plan to proactively right size the assortment and other parts of the business resulted in lower but more profitable sales this quarter,” she said of the company’s fourth quarter results, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “We continue to take steps to strengthen the depth and breadth of our women's assortment with a significantly higher level of exclusive emerging fashion and both new and expanded vendor partnership as we drive sequential improvements in this important category.”

DSW is among the few retailers, along with off-price stores from TJX companies and discount retailers like dollar stores, that have been expanding their numbers of physical stores. DSW now operates 508 stores in 43 states as well as its e-commerce site, and it also supplies footwear to 397 other leased locations in the U.S.

The shoe retailer has also been working diligently to blur its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses — and fulfillment has been a big piece in making that puzzle fit. The retailer has said that it’s shipping about half its e-commerce sales from its stores. The ship-from-store model has helped sales, though in the past the retailer said it has had to work to tamp down costs by working out the most efficient fulfillment strategy. In many cases, for example, proximity didn’t help keep down shipping costs, so in recent years the retailer switched to shipping from stores that have excess inventory. 

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Filed Under: Marketing
Top image credit: DSW