Brown Shoe to launch 32 Naturalizer stores in Japan

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Brown Shoe Company Inc has taken another step in global expansion and its initiative to build the Naturalizer brand worldwide. The Company has signed a long-term agreement with Regal Corp. to open 32 new Naturalizer retail concept stores in Japan over the next several years.

Regal, a Japanese footwear manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, currently owns and operates eight Naturalizer retail locations throughout Japan. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"Creating a strong Naturalizer presence in Japan is an important piece of our strategy to build it into a global brand. Naturalizer's concept of style and comfort is one that is relevant to women in all parts of the world, and opening these stores enables more Japanese consumers to fully experience the brand," said Brown Shoe Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm.

"Brown Shoe has had a great relationship with Regal Corporation for more than 40 years, and its vast experience in the Japanese footwear market combined with its brand-building expertise makes Regal Corporation an ideal partner for developing Naturalizer in Japan."

Japanese Naturalizer stores carry many of the same styles as their American counterparts, according to a release. The locations also feature Naturalizer's signature store design and marketing imagery.

"The Naturalizer store concept is a new and unique addition to the retail landscape in Japan. We are excited to collaborate with our long-standing partner, Brown Shoe, to bring the comfort and fashion of Naturalizer to our consumers," said Regal Corporation President Toshio Itoh.

"We are already seeing positive reactions from customers, and are confident that Naturalizer will be a highly successful women's footwear brand in Japan."

Regal, which operates and franchises nearly 200 Regal stores, began selling Naturalizer footwear in Japanese department stores in 2000 and the success of the brand created a demand for retail, according to a release.

Established in 1902, Regal distributes in department stores under the Regal, Naturalizer, Kenford and Hoppers brand names.

St. Louis-based Brown Shoe Co. Inc. owns and markets shoes under the Naturalizer, LifeStride, Connie, Buster Brown and other brands; and operates the Famous Footwear and Naturalizer retail stores.

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