Footwear and apparel company Caleres on Thursday announced that Molly Adams will take the post of president of Famous Footwear on May 29, the largest brand in its portfolio. She replaces Rick Ausick, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Adams had been executive vice president of global merchandising and product development at The Walt Disney Company since 2008, where she led two multibillion-dollar business areas and a combined global merchandising and product development team. She also has experience with private equity-owned and smaller retail and entertainment companies, including eight years in merchandising at Anchor Blue, a family-owned specialty fashion retail chain that has ceased operations.
Last year, Famous Footwear made $1.6 billion in revenue, which accounted for 59% of Caleres' revenue, the company said.
As department stores and specialty apparel retailers grapple with a glut of stores and merchandise, Caleres is quietly defying the odds, consistently racking up healthy numbers at most of its banners. As its largest brand, Famous Footwear, despite some stumbles last year, has helped fuel that. The company also owns Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds, Franco Sarto, Naturalizer and Dr. Scholl's Shoes, among other brands.
"Set to deliver another year of sales and earnings growth, [Caleres] has been a consistent executor and is taking the right steps (speed, closing underperforming stores, etc) for its business considering the evolution of consumer tastes and the retail backdrop," Wedbush analysts said in comments emailed to Retail Dive in March. "In addition to its consistent execution, the company's profit mix continues to shift to its higher margin Brand Portfolio (now ~50% of operating profit vs ~40% in FY15)."
Adams arrives at a time when challenges in the market remain, despite a healthy economy that has boosted consumer confidence and fueled spending. In a statement on Thursday, Caleres CEO Diane Sullivan said that the company is also turning to Adams to help Famous Footwear elevate its in-store experience.