Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 86

"

Shoe Carnival

We treat our employees
well and they stay with
us. So they really learn
about our models.

"

"The list goes on with the different types of sales that we
can provide in that regard," he continues. "We have a wide
approach when it comes to merchandising and putting our
product on sale. For example, company lore brags we were
the first company to come up with the buy one, get one halfoff sale in the early 1980s. That was not a common feature
in the retail shoe market world at all at that time, and look
how it has evolved today."

Customer Focused
Catering to customer needs has set Shoe Carnival apart
from its competitors over the course of its nearly 40-year
history. "At the end of the day, we don't want our customers
to be disappointed," Gubser says. "Most retailers provide
shoe sizes within the 12 to 16 pair range for any one style or
model. We rarely carry less than 24 pairs, and typically up
to 36 or more. We want customers to always find their size
when they come in store. So as long as the model of the shoe
is still being carried, we will always replace that shoe on the
next truck to keep it in stock and keep customers happy
when they see their size in the style and model that caught
their attention."
Shoe Carnival has thousands of SKUs
of moderately priced dress, casual and athletic footwear
for the whole

86

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

March/April 2017

Rethinking Locations

While a prototypical Shoe Carnival store is 9,000 to 12,000 square
feet, the company is trying out smaller stores.
"We have designed new prototypes over the last couple years
to focus on small and mid-market type stores, which are 6,000
to 9,000 square feet," says Brad Gubser, vice president of store
development and planning. "These stores allow us to serve
markets that are at least an hour away from large cities, which is
very helpful, I think. The response has been very positive because
these markets will now have a local, convenient shoe store in their
area carrying national name brands at an affordable, discounted
price. So we're expanding that program this year."

family, with national name brands. The company caters to
"middle America-type" customers who have middle to lower income. "There are other retailers that tend to go after
high-end designer shoes," Gubser says. "Where large portions of their shoes are in the $150 and up range, we have
some shoes in that range, but the majority of our shoes are
much more reasonably priced."
In addition, Gubser notes that the company tailors its offerings for each individual market. "For example, we have
Hispanic, urban and traditional-type stores," he says. "Even
within those stores the store general managers and regional
manager can call our merchants and say they have customers who need more of a particular style of shoe."
That tailoring goes one step further with Shoe Carnival's
suppliers. "They are very much a partner with us," Gubser
explains. "All of our key partners, like Nike
and Sketchers, will come to
us and


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Contents
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