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Vince Rolling Out Women’s Shoes to 500 Doors This Spring

Vince Holding Corp. (VNCE), owner of the contemporary fashion brand Vince, is making great strides in the footwear space.

The New York-based fashion lifestyle brand, launched 13 years ago and spun off from Kellwood in an IPO in late 2013, is known primarily for its contemporary women’s apparel. At Neiman’s, Nordstrom and Saks, Vince is the number one contemporary clothing brand. The company is expanding into menswear, childrenswear and handbags, and counts women’s and men’s footwear, made under licensing agreement with St.Louis-based Brown Shoe Co. (BWS), among its most promising product categories.

On the company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call, CEO Jill Granoff told analysts that its footwear business performed “exceptionally well” in 2014, when the men’s shoe line debuted. Growth in the category, she said, has been “huge.”

NPD has reported that the Vince brand is the second-fastest-growing in the U.S. market in its price range, after Michael Kors.

Vince’s women’s footwear will be available in 500 department and specialty store doors this spring, up from 350. Granoff also commented about the category’s great potential internationally, and mentioned that Brown shoe is sharing the company’s new Paris showroom, which will help the collection make inroads in the European market.

For the fourth quarter of 2014, total net sales at the company increased 7.9% to $94.7 million, Direct-to-consumer sales rose by 39.7% to $25.8 million. Quarterly gross margin increased 260 basis points to 48.3% from 45.7% in fiscal 2013, and net income was $10.5 million. On a per-share basis, earnings were $0.28, compared to a net loss of $0.02 in the prior year period, and beating analyst estimates by $0.02 per share.

For the year ended Jan. 31, 2015, its first as a public company, net sales increased 18.1% to $340.4 million. Comparable store sales increased by 7.8% over the prior year excluding e-commerce (12.1% including e-commerce sales). Net income increased to $35.7 million, compared to a net loss of $27.4 million in fiscal 2013. Diluted earnings per share were $0.93 compared to a net loss per share for the same period in fiscal 2013 of $0.98.

“We are proud of our strong performance in our first full year as a public company,” Granoff said in a statement. “We delivered record sales in 2014, with double-digit increases across all product categories and distribution channels. We are particularly pleased with the exceptional growth in our retail, ecommerce, international and licensing businesses, building a platform for the future.”

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The company said it ultimately expects to have a total of 100 stores, of which 75 will be full-price and 25 will be outlet stores.