Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S32


Retail

Shoe Carnival designs its stores to
maintain an atmosphere of fun and surprise,
as well as consistent customer service.

SHOE CARNIVAL

Stepping
On Up
Shoe Carnival is expanding its physical stores even
as it invests in e-commerce platforms. BY TIM O'CONNOR

F
Brad Gubser,
vice president of
store planning and
development
www.shoecarnival.com
Evansville, Ind.

32

ootwear giant Shoe Carnival is finding success by increasing its rate of growth through
new types of retail locations and store concepts. The company has long favored storefronts in strip malls, but it realized it needed to gain
a foothold in interior shopping malls to reach its
expansion targets. "In order to grow successfully, we
need to take advantage of the best retail space available regardless of whether it is in an enclosed mall or
a traditional power center," Vice President of Store
Planning and Development Brad Gubser says.
Shoe Carnival has cultivated a loyal customer base
over the past 35 years, Gubser notes. Shoe Carnival is
a destination shop and as such it prefers to have easy

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

November/December 2015

access into its stores. With customer convenience in
mind, the company began considering mall locations
with an exterior entrance so customers could go
straight from the parking lot into the store.

Rethinking Locations
The natural customer traffic patterns of malls has
brought new types of customers to Shoe Carnival
and helped the company expand its market. Today,
Shoe Carnival is nearing 20 in-mall locations and
has committed to building more each year.
The move into mall locations is only the latest
evolution for Shoe Carnival. Shoe Carnival began
in Evansville, Ind., in 1978 as a result of the creativity and entrepreneurship of a local shoe salesman,
David Russell. His ingenuity and personality carried
the shoe store from its small flagship store, Shoe
Biz, into the publicly traded, leading family channel
footwear retailer it is today. Russell's vision was to
create a fun shoe shopping experience, and his first
store boasted stacked shoeboxes, toys, balloons, and
prevalent 1950s-era music piped through a jukebox
that was only interrupted by managers to announce
surprise sales. Although Shoe Carnival stores have
eliminated most of the clutter in its updated, contemporary locations, shoppers still experience the
foundation of fun that its founder envisioned.
The initial Shoe Biz shop and subsequent stores


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - SCover1
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - SCover2
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S2
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S3
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S4
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S5
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S6
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S7
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Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S10
Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2015 - S11
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