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DSW Owner’s New Deal to Grow Athletic Reach

DSW owner Designer Brands Inc. inked a new investment and licensing agreement with Le Tigre 360 Global, adding to the footwear firm’s portfolio of lifestyle brands.

Le Tigre will design and produce sneakers and slides primarily for sale at DSW and The Shoe Company retail stores—also owned by Designer Brands—as well as wholesale accounts and the brand’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce channel. Alongside Designer Brands labels including Vince Camuto, Reebok, Hush Puppies, Jessica Simpson, Crown Vintage, JLO Jennifer Lopez, Mix No. 6, Lucky Brand and Kelly & Katie, Le Tigre will contribute to the company’s goal to double sales by owned brands by 2026.

Designer Brands also recently announced a partnership with Authentic Brands Group-owned Reebok aimed at expanding its athletic reach and enhancing online and in-store distribution.

Founded in New York in 1977, Le Tigre’s signature polo shirt positioned the brand as an alternative to Lacoste. After falling out of production throughout the 1990s, the brand reemerged in the early aughts. Infinity Brands and Hilco Inc. partnered to acquire the label from Kenneth Cole in 2017. The joint venture investment partners recently expanded the business in recent years to reach millennial consumers interest in branded apparel. Designer Brands will develop the shoe side of the business to “disrupt the footwear marketplace,” Infinity Brands CEO Ike S. Franco said.

“As a leader in footwear, they will undoubtedly bring inspiring and unique designs to the marketplace, producing and delivering the highest quality products and engaging a large multi-generational audience that will expand the brand’s footprint significantly,” Franco said. Designer Brands‘ omnichannel infrastructure includes nearly 650 stores across North America and $1 billion in e-commerce business.

Designer Brands president Bill Jordan believes Le Tigre’s retro styling and tiger logo will help the company reach consumers who appreciate established American brands. “Its unique style is the perfect addition to our growing portfolio of Owned Brands that customers have come to expect,” he said.