DSW to Shutter Town Shoes Chain of Stores

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Iconic Canadian footwear chain Town Shoes will cease to exist after 66 years in business. The company has 38 stores across Canada, and the announcement will be of concern to some landlords that are already grappling with vacancies in their malls. 

The news also comes as a shock after Town Shoes announced in April of this year that it was revamping its operations by adding new contemporary designer lines in an effort to gain market share. As part of that strategy, several locations saw renovations to display brand names such as See by Chloé and Navy by Jil Sander. The announcement isn’t totally unexpected, however, given intense competition in the Canadian footwear space as mono brand and multi-brand retailers expand their offerings and operations. 

American parent company DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse paid $62-million when it bought a 44% stake in Town Shoes in the spring of 2014. That deal helped DSW open its large format concept stores in Canada — Town Shoes’ expertise and distribution network were utilized as part of the expansion which saw 27 DSW stores open in regions across Canada.

DSW acquired a 100% stake in Town Shoes in May of 2018 and at the time, we were told by suppliers that they had been informed that the Town Shoes nameplate would be shuttered. That information was denied by the company and thus was not reported in Retail Insider. Now DSW confirms that all Town Shoes stores in Canada will be closing by the end of its fiscal year. 

Town Shoes has an extensive history in Canada. It was founded by entrepreneur Leonard Simpson in 1952 when he took over a failing store at the Sunnybrook Plaza in Toronto (the shopping mall was a new concept at the time). A second location opened soon after at the ‘Lawrence Plaza’ which is located south of the Yorkdale Shopping Centre

In the 1960’s, Town Shoes opened a shop-in-store on Toronto’s ‘Mink Mile’ inside of upscale multi-brand retailer Harridge’s at 131 Bloor Street West in The Colonnade, and the company maintained a Bloor Street West presence thereafter until last summer when it closed its standalone store at 95 Bloor Street West. That retail space is currently occupied by menswear retailer Strellson

Town Shoes was also a sponsor of Toronto Fashion Week for many seasons, supplying shoes for the runway shows. The company was also known to have collaborated with Canadian designers on exclusive lines. Town Shoes has a close tie to the fashion world in Canada and the news of its closure will be shocking for many. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. So sad to hear this, and it is really sad that Canada keeps losing our iconic retailers. It would be nice to see our retailers owned in Canada again, instead of by foreign companies in the USA and elsewhere which do not care about Canadian brands.

  2. There is no where to buy mid market shoes anymore just like clothing. It’s a huge miscalculation on retailers part because I’m not buying shoes at Walmart or Payless but there’s no way I can afford prices that are asked at high end stores or even the department stores that are not garbage.
    Our market is no longer affordable for Canadians. The only people buying are Asians who seem to have a never ending supply of cash.

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