Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has taken over the management of shoe brand Aldo’s department store and online concession agreements in a five-year deal from 1 September.
All Aldo standalone stores and its own website will remain owned and operated by the Aldo Group.
Neil Clifford, chief executive of Kurt Geiger, said it was pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy for the brand, and plans to add 50 locations over the next three years. Its concession partners in the UK and Ireland include Selfridges, House of Fraser, Debenhams and Fenwick.
“This is an exciting partnership between two very strong footwear brands,” said Clifford. “We have an ambitious five-year plan to strategically drive long-term growth and brand presence for Aldo and our store partners in these two key markets.”
President of Aldo Group International Norman Jaskolka said the tie-up would enable the brand to reach more UK and Irish customers: “Our ambition is to innovate and expand our global footprint, while also elevating the customer experience on all levels. Associating ourselves with Kurt Geiger is an important part of what will allow shoppers to connect with the Aldo brand in physical locations and online.”
Industry insiders expressed surprise at the deal.
One suggested it indicated that Aldo had been struggling in department stores: “I presume [they haven’t been overly successful], so they’re focusing their efforts on their stores and their website, and giving the department stores to a specialist like Kurt Geiger. I think it’s as simple as that.”
Another added that Kurt Geiger’s dominance in department store concessions made it a logical strategy for Aldo, but cautioned that it was indicative of a wider issue for brands: “[It] clearly makes it more difficult for smaller or less well-known brands to be in department stores in the UK, [compared with] a self-bought model in the US, where department stores still have their own buyers and will perhaps experiment to a greater degree with new brands.”