Nine West Company Analysis

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Nine West Company Analysis

Key Takeaways

Introduction

Nine West was established in 1987, and the footwear and accessories retailer has a presence in over 78 countries. Some of its core value includes quality, integrity, and excellence. Some of the marketing technology it uses include Bronto and Qubit.

Unfortunately, we could not find any past, recent, and future strategic initiatives, for its digital transformation or otherwise, by the Nine West Group. Below, we offer a few helpful insights from its parent company, the Authentic Brands Group (ABG). This, and other details, can be found in the Research Strategy section.

Company Overview

  • Its website also states that its products include a “thoughtfully curated” variety of footwear, handbags, and accessories.

  • Dun and Bradstreet (DNB) posits that the company is home to over 500 employees and could possibly be generating about $17 million in annual sales. Zoom Info, another business intelligence site similar to DNB, offers a different figure, postulating that the Nine West Group’s annual revenue could be in the excess of $3 billion.

Mission, Values, and Strategic Initiatives

  • Its website, in part, reads, “Each collection illustrates our commitment to balancing essential pieces with the season’s iconic trends, always maintaining a focus on wearability, quality, and style.” Its profile on LinkedIn adds, “We collectively and not-so-secretly believe that shoes, handbags, and accessories are transformative. Done right and well = outfit tears of joy and confidence beyond compare. It’s our mission to lead the trend, be freakish about quality and detail, and design wonderful things for women with discerning taste and fabulously chameleon-like fashion ways.”
Unfortunately, the research team could not find any past, recent, and future strategic initiatives, for its digital transformation or otherwise, by the Nine West Group. Below, we offer a few helpful insights from its parent company, the Authentic Brands Group (ABG).
  • According to Retail Wire, an online publication dedicated to the US retail industry, ABG dictates the marketing strategies of all its brands. It leaves manufacturing, inventory, distribution, and other responsibilities to its licensee partners.

CEO Quotes

  • Regarding handling its brands’ marketing strategy, ABG’s CEO, Jamie Salter, states, “We are a licensing business and are purely focused on brand identity and marketing. This unique approach allows us to unleash brand performance through reimagined storytelling and staying ahead of the distribution curve, create a sustainable, strong royalty model with recurring, asset-light growth, drive a flywheel of successful revenue and brand growth that fuels free cash flow to invest in additional brands, and focus most of our time, efforts and resources on building incredible brands.”

Marketing Tech Stack

  • Slintel records that the Nine West Group has over 150 technologies across 19 categories. For marketing, for example, Slintel lists at least 6 different types of technology purportedly used by Nine West. Some include;

Challenges

Bankruptcy

  • Reuters reports that in April 2018, Nine West filed for bankruptcy after it failed to make a payment on the interest owed on its business loans. The article records that Nine West had accrued over $1.5 billion in debt, with a 2018 article by the Washington Post adding that this amount was spread across 50,000 creditors.
  • According to the Washington Post, the Group opted to sell its Nine West and Bandolino brands to ABG. Ralph Schipani, the group’s CEO at the time, is quoted saying, “This is the right step to address our two divergent business profiles.”

Failure to Adapt to Market Trends

  • The Washington Post also reports that Nine West did not adapt quickly to changing market trends to stay relevant and profitable. According to the article, while other brands hopped on the athletic shoe trend, Nine West missed it. “The retailer has faced several challenges in recent years, including slumping demand for ballet flats, sandals, and high heels as consumers spend more of their money on athletic shoes and sneakers. Analysts said the decline of shopping malls and department stores — many of which sell Nine West products — also exacerbated its demise,” the article goes on to say.
  • Research firm Forrester’s Sucharita Kodali adds, “This is a brand that has really struggled to differentiate itself. The only bright spot in the footwear industry has been athletic wear, and that’s not what Nine West sells.”
  • Jessica Couch, a retail technology expert, contributes, “I couldn’t help but wonder why Nine West did not embrace the shoe trends of the time which later led to their demise. Not embracing the athletic trend for the sake of preserving brand identity proved to be a disastrous decision. Companies are supposed to serve the customer, provide for the customer and give the customer what they want. Your identity and your core products are only as good as the demand for them. Making design decisions outside of what is being asked from the consumer is a mistake many brands make. Fashion is no longer dictated from the top down. Fashion and design are decentralized and come from the bottom up. The idea is not to stifle creativity, but to ensure brands survive.”

Major Competitors

Steve Madden

  • Steve Madden is a New York-based retailer of “fashion-forward” footwear, accessories, and clothes for men, women, and children. It was founded in 1990 and is publicly traded under SHOO.
  • A link to its website can be found here.

Aldo Group

  • A link to the website can be found here.

DSW

  • DSW is a footwear retailer that specializes in branded shoes and accessories. It boasts of over 300 stores spread across 40 states. The Reference for Business website posits that the company went public in 2005.
  • A link to its website can be found here.

Kenneth Cole

  • The Kenneth Cole Production, founded in 1982, specializes in footwear, handbags, and accessories, as well as sportswear and tailored clothes specifically for men. The Reference for Business further reports that Kenneth Cole products are showcased in over 2,500 stores in the US.
  • A link to its website can be found here.

Additional Relevant Facts

  • In July 2021, Nine West’s parent company, ABG, filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In its prospectus, it is selling Class A common stock shares. Under its description of Nine West, it notes that the brand’s main target is Millennial and Gen X women and that the brand enjoys over 3,000 distribution points across the globe.

Research Strategy

For this research on Nine West, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including the company's website and LinkedIn profile, as well as reputable industry publications. Notable sources include Retail Wire, Slintel, Reuters, and then Washington Post.

Unfortunately, the research team could not find any past, recent, and future strategic initiatives, for its digital transformation or otherwise, by the Nine West Group. We attempted to offer a few helpful insights from its parent company, the Authentic Brands Group (ABG). Further, we could only find one quote by Nine West's management that somewhat related to its digital strategy.

Nine West's competitors were chosen from pre-complied list by business intelligence and ranking sites such as Zoom Info and SimilarWeb. These 4 companies were repeatedly mentioned as formidable competitors to Nine West as they were also large retailers of footwear, mainly operational within the US, and sold similar accessories.

Additionally, while we prIoritized the most recent sources (not older than 24 months), we also had to include slightly outdated sources, like articles by Reuters and The Washington Post, to augment some of our findings as we deemed them pertinent to this brief.

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