Genesco Company Analysis: Journeys

of one

Genesco Company Analysis: Journeys

Key Takeaways

  • Genesco was founded in 1924 in Nashville, Tennessee. With over 1,400 outlets, the company recorded net sales of $521 million at the end of its first quarter Fiscal 2023. Journeys — Genesco's teen specialty retailer — accounted for 65% of the company’s net sales in Fiscal 2022, with $1,576,475; a 28.4% increase from 2021.
  • The culture at Genesco is ever-changing. The company aims to produce and curate top footwear brands that characterize innovation, style, and self-expression. Its committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion is expressed through activities in business practices, community, talent, and measurement.
  • According to Mimi E. Vaughn (Genesco President and CEO), targeted actions along with the swift turn in online trading fueled a triple digit e-commerce compound profit in April, which grew further in May. As part of its Digital and IT transformation strategy, Genesco uses software applications such as Jesta I.S. Vision SCM for Supply Chain Management, UKG Ready Talent Acquisition for Recruiting, and Accruent Lucernex for Lease Management.
  • In the first quarter of Fiscal 2022, Journeys group encountered inventory shortages which impacted the company’s performance negatively. In the second half, Genesco had supply chain challenges which resulted in increased freight and logistics costs, and consequently increased overall sales cost by nearly $12.7 million.


We have provided a company analysis for Genesco: Journeys. This report provides insight into Genesco's digital transformation strategy, with specific focus on 'Journeys'.

Company Overview

  • Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO), a Nashville-based specialty store of branded footwear, has over 1,400 outlets across Canada, the United States, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
  • The company’s consumer focus is on driving an omnichannel strategy to connect with people wherever they live and shop. Genesco is a leader in footwear, apparel, and accessories, with brands such as Little Burgundy, Journeys, Schuh, Journeys Kidz, Schuh Kids, Johnston & Murphy, along with its wholesale of licensed brands like Bass, Dockers, Levi’s, among others.

Founding History

  • The company began in 1924 when James Franklin Jarman started making $5 shoes with W.H. Wemyss, and J.H. Lawson — all previous salesmen for Carter Shoe Co. in Nashville, Tennessee. The company was incorporated as Jarman Shoe Company in 1925, and in 1931, it became General Shoe Company. In 1939, General Shoe Company’s initial public stock launch took place, at $15.25/share.
  • By 1941, the company had 43 of its own retail stores, 10,000 other outlets, and made $24 million in sales. Another stock offering took place in 1946, at $40/share. In 1959, the company assumed the name: Genesco, and by 1961, it was selected as one of the stocks in the first S&P 500 Index.

Number of Employees and Journeys' Products

  • Genesco has a staff strength of 19,000 (January 2021 data) with approximately 30% full-time and 70% part-time. Employee retention at the company is about 3.4 years, with an average employee earning $36,301 per year.
  • Journeys is Genesco's teen specialty retailer with 1,135 stores (at the end of Fiscal 2022) and more than 10,001 employees across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Journeys retails the most fashionable brands — like Converse, Dr. Martens, Adidas, Timberland, Vans, and UGG — that satisfy the teen lifestyle. Journeys Group consists of the Journeys®, Journeys Kidz® and Little Burgundy® retail footwear.


  • 65% of Genesco’s net sales in Fiscal 2022 was derived from the Journeys Group. The Schuh Group accounted for 18% of net sales, while the Johnston & Murphy Group and the Licensed Brands segment accounted for 10% and 7% respectively.
  • Net sales from Journeys Group during the fiscal year was $1,576,475, a 28.4% increase from previous year ($1,227,954 in 2021). Stores that were shut down due to the pandemic were reopened this period and increased sales in the stores consequently causing revenue to rise.
  • Overall, a 36% increase in net sales was recorded in Fiscal 2022, from $1.8 billion (in 2021) to $2.4 billion. At the end of the first quarter Fiscal 2023, Genesco recorded net sales of $521 million, an increase of 5% over Q1FY20, and a decline of 3% from 2022.

Key Values

  • Genesco has an evolving culture because the market is always changing. Dedicated to challenging the status quo, adopting fresh ideas, and taking smart risks, the company is on a mission to produce and curate top footwear brands that characterize innovation, style, and self-expression, and to be the one-stop for its consumers' choice of fashion footwear.
  • Genesco is entrusted to support its workers by pursuing endeavors that encourage inclusive and respectful work environments. Its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion encompasses the people it engages with globally, through actions in four primary areas — business practices, community, talent, and measurement.
  • Through its various initiatives, Genesco supports businesses and gives back to the world. Its Cold Feet, Warm Shoes community outreach program has given out 100,000+ pairs of shoes since 1989. United Way has raised millions of dollars through events such as a cornhole championship and its annual charity golf tournament. Yearly, Genesco workers volunteer 10 paid hours to the community. During the pandemic, the company donated over 25,000 masks and provided space for the Distribution Center to aid the area's emergency response. Other initiatives include the ‘Attitude that Cares’ program by Journeys, Schuh's Purpose Pillars, and its Employee Emergency Fund.
  • Genesco has $3.5 million of long-lived assets held and $11.1 million in investments (as of April 2022). Both were measured respectively using Level 3 inputs and Level 1 inputs within the fair value hierarchy.

Customer Market — Journeys

  • Through sponsorships, exclusive content, strategic and creative collaborations with artists, Journeys has become a universal part of teen and youth culture. The brand caters for customers in the 13-to-22-year age range by leveraging multi-channel media and youth-oriented décor. While Journeys Kidz retails footwear and accessories mostly for toddler age to 12 years old, Little Burgundy is focused on students and professionals in the 21 to 34 age range.

Digital Strategy, Commentary from C-Level Executives, and Marketing Tech Stack

  • Genesco business strategy is anchored on a strong, direct-to-consumer model, driven by a developing digital platform. The strategy maximizes the connection between digital and physical channels to increase scale and profitability. The company plans to invest more in infrastructure and technology that support omnichannel and digital retailing, and possibly lower its total square footage and store count, while enhancing productivity in existing sites.
  • Genesco's Board has made strategic changes towards tackling the increasing significance of digital, shifts in retail, and the subsequent demand for scale and system efficiencies. According to Jonathan R. Komp (Senior Research Analyst — Active Lifestyles at R.W. Baird & Co.), "a combination of the existing set of initiatives with recent moves to create the position of Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, will encourage enhanced performance.
  • Mimi E. Vaughn (Genesco President and CEO) stated that the company leverages its investments in digital commerce capabilities to stay actively connected with its customers. Targeted actions along with the swift turn in online trading fueled a triple digit e-commerce comp profit in April and 64% comp increase for Q1. E-commerce sales grew further in May, according to Vaughn.
  • As part of its overall Digital and IT transformation strategy to conform with internal obligations, stay competitive, or resist threats from disruptive forces to increase overall productivity, Genesco leverages Jesta I.S. Vision SCM for Supply Chain Management, UKG Ready Talent Acquisition (former Kronos Workforce Ready Talent Acquisition) for Recruiting, and Accruent Lucernex for Lease Management.
  • Genesco’s modernization strategy is driven by Jesta’s Vision Sourcing & Demand software to scale and standardize its end-to-end supply chain resources. The company has been leveraging Jesta’s Vision Merchandising solution for more than 20 years, and Jesta’s foundational ERP solution has been instrumental in scaling Genesco’s head office marketing operations and exponential growth. According to Rik Reitmaier (CIO at Genesco), “Genesco focused on performance benchmarks such as agile, innovative, scalable, and robust, when it wanted to upgrade its sourcing technology.”


  • During the second half of Fiscal 2022, the company experienced supply chain challenges resulting in increased freight and logistics costs associated with inventory purchases from contractors. These costs increased overall sales cost by almost $12.7 million and adversely impacted gross margin.
  • Journeys group encountered inventory shortages in the first quarter of Fiscal 2022. The brand had insufficient winter merchandise to meet demands in February, and there was delay in the delivery of spring styles caused by supply chain disruption. Vaughn stated that Genesco’s performance would have been stronger if there was inventory to fulfill demands at Journeys. However, the brand delivered a “laudable” quarter despite its inventory challenges.
  • There is significant risk associated with doing business with a fashion-conscious customer base and relying on their ability to respond to trends, shop items that reveal such trends, and properly manage inventories considering the possibility for sudden fluctuations in fashion, customer taste, or other extrinsic demand drivers. Lack of proper execution of these actions impacts negatively on product margins, sales, operating income, and cash flows.
  • In 2021, Legion Partners Asset Management, — owner of about 5.6% of Genesco’s remaining common shares — criticized the brand structure, capital allocation, board experience and absence of social, environmental and diversity focus, amongst other things. The investment organization called for the possible consideration of divestment of a new growth strategy for Journeys.
  • Legion's digital proposals were either obsolete, already executed or simply inappropriate for the Journeys' client base. During the pandemic, Journeys e-commerce business increased by about 80%, as its customers opted for Journeys products because of its captivating digital offering. The brand’s focus on its teen customer base drives its digital, social media, omnichannel, and marketing decisions. Legion's recommendations revealed a lack of awareness of the market and Genesco's business.

Research Strategy

For this research on Genesco Company Analysis: Journeys, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including Genesco, Jesta I.S., SGB Media, Retail Dive.

Did this report spark your curiosity?