Brown Shoe Company, Inc. to Create Interconnected Footwear Company by Joining Madison, St. Louis Employees in St. Louis Headquarters

Apr 10, 2008, 01:00 ET from Brown Shoe Company, Inc.

    ST. LOUIS, April 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Brown Shoe Company, Inc.,
 (NYSE:   BWS; will join together employees from its
 Madison, Wis.-based Retail and St. Louis-based divisions to create a more
 connected footwear company, headquartered in St. Louis.
     "As part of the strategic earnings enhancement plan we announced in
 2006, we determined that creating one greatly connected footwear company is
 the right thing to do for our business. We are committed to implementing
 this decision in the right way for our customers, employees, shareholders
 and the communities in which we live and work," said Brown Shoe Chairman
 and Chief Executive Officer Ronald A. Fromm. "This move will aid in
 achieving our vision of being a leading fashion footwear marketer as it
 will foster collaboration, increase our speed to market and strengthen our
 connection with consumers. Additionally, we believe it will further enable
 us to attain our goal of doubling our rate of profitability while doubling
 our sales."
     Fromm and Famous Footwear President Joe Wood today invited employees
 from the company's Madison office to join them in building a more connected
 company for the future. All of the approximately 270 Madison-based
 employees will be offered jobs and relocation assistance. For those
 employees who choose to remain in Madison, Brown Shoe will offer generous
 severance packages including at least one and a half weeks of compensation
 per year of employment, with a minimum of four weeks; outplacement
 assistance; and job fairs. In addition, Brown Shoe will continue its
 support of major charitable and civic partners in the Madison community for
 at least the next three years, and honor all longer-term commitments.
     "Moving our Madison office, which has the smaller population of the
 two, will be the least disruptive to our business and our employees,
 enabling us to continue providing great products and service to our
 customers. Nevertheless, we understand this will be difficult for some of
 our people, and we are committed to easing this transition for them," said
     Brown Shoe expects the relocation of employees from Madison to St.
 Louis to begin during the second quarter and be substantially complete by
 the end of the third quarter of 2008. The company expects to incur pre-tax
 expenses of $25 to $30 million ($0.37 to $0.44 per diluted share) to
 implement the transition. These expenses include people-related costs for
 relocation, severance and retention, as well as asset write-off and lease
 termination costs.
     The company has engaged partners from Clayco and U.S. Equities Realty,
 as well as government representatives from Clayton, St. Louis County, the
 State of Missouri and the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth
 Association in creating a public/private partnership to assist in planning
 the right way to bring together its employees in St. Louis. Brown Shoe owns
 a 12-acre property in St. Louis County's City of Clayton, which houses its
 current headquarters and approximately 650 employees, and two adjacent
 office buildings not currently in use.
     "It is our first choice to redevelop our Clayton site into a
 world-class mixed use development anchored by the future Brown Shoe and
 Famous Footwear corporate headquarters. Our ability to do this will be
 contingent upon us working with state and local governments on the planning
 and approval processes associated with a development of this type.
 Ultimately, decisions about our physical space will be driven by what is
 right for our customers, employees, shareholders and the community," said
     The company growth plan anticipates relocating or creating 500-700 new
 jobs in the community over the next several years. Under various State of
 Missouri economic development programs, the company will collaborate with
 its public partners to avail itself of eligible incentives totaling more
 than $43 million related to training and job creation and redevelopment of
 the Clayton site.
     Governor Matt Blunt said, "Over the last three years we have helped
 Missourians create more than 90,000 new jobs by creating an economic
 climate that helps keep businesses in our state and attracts others to move
 here. Missouri is committed to Brown Shoe and its workforce as they
 establish their new international headquarters in Missouri. This proposed
 redevelopment project is very exciting for our state and it assures the
 creation of about 700 new jobs and the retention of 600 existing jobs."
     "The City of Clayton is proud to have been home to Brown Shoe for all
 these years. The prospect of the company maintaining its headquarters and
 expanding its presence in our community is an important and exciting one,"
 said Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein.
     "I am very excited to take part in working with Brown Shoe on this
 important expansion in St. Louis County," said St. Louis County Executive
 Charlie Dooley. "I know that Brown Shoe could locate anywhere in the
 country, and I am glad that by working together, the State of Missouri,
 City of Clayton and St. Louis County are able to support this tremendous
     Established in 1878, Brown Shoe has been part of the St. Louis
 community for 130 years. Its rich local history includes launching the
 Buster Brown children's footwear brand at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
 The company's first office was located downtown in what is today the
 Washington Avenue Loft District, and moved to Clayton in 1952.
     Brown Shoe operates a design studio and showroom in Manhattan, and
 global offices in China, Italy and Brazil. The company has approximately
 13,000 employees worldwide, including approximately 650 in its St. Louis
     Famous Footwear was founded in 1960, with one Madison store selling
 brand name shoes for less. When Brown Shoe acquired the chain in 1981, it
 had grown to 36 stores. Today, Famous Footwear is one of the largest
 footwear retailers selling brand-name shoes for the entire family, with
 1,100 stores nationwide offering more than 80 top brands. The company plans
 to open an additional 100 Famous Footwear retail stores across the country
 this year.
     About Brown Shoe
     Brown Shoe is a $2.4 billion footwear company with global operations.
 Brown Shoe's Retail division operates Famous Footwear, the approximately
 1,100-store chain that sells brand name shoes for the family, approximately
 300 specialty retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and China under the
 Naturalizer, Brown Shoe Closet, FX LaSalle, and Franco Sarto names, and, the Company's e-commerce subsidiary. Brown Shoe, through its
 Wholesale divisions, owns and markets leading footwear brands including
 Naturalizer, LifeStride, Via Spiga, Nickels Soft, Connie and Buster Brown;
 it also markets licensed brands including Franco Sarto, Dr. Scholl's,
 Etienne Aigner, and Carlos by Carlos Santana and Barbie, Disney and
 Nickelodeon character footwear for children. Brown Shoe press releases are
 available on the Company's website at
     About Famous Footwear
     Famous Footwear is one of the largest footwear retailers selling
 brand-name footwear for the entire family, with 1,100 stores nationwide.
 The chain ranks among the top retailers of such well-known brands as Nike,
 adidas, Skechers, Buster Brown and New Balance. Famous Footwear is proud to
 be a national partner of the March of Dimes, and sponsors March for Babies
 events in more than 1,000 communities nationwide. Famous Footwear is
 operated by the retail subsidiary of Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE:   BWS),
 which has $2.4 billion in sales as a retailer and wholesaler of footwear.
 For more information, visit
     Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform
 Act of 1995: This press release contains certain forward-looking statements
 and expectations regarding the Company's future performance and the future
 performance of its brands. Such statements are subject to various risks and
 uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These
 include (i) the preliminary nature of estimates of the costs and benefits
 of the Earnings Enhancement Plan, which are subject to change as the
 Company makes decisions and refines these estimates over time; (ii)
 potential disruption to the Company's business and operations as a result
 of the Company's decision to relocate positions from its Madison, Wisconsin
 office to its St. Louis headquarters; (iii) intense competition within the
 footwear industry; (iv) rapidly changing consumer demands and fashion
 trends and purchasing patterns, which may be influenced by consumers'
 disposable income, which in turn can be influenced by general economic
 conditions; (v) customer concentration and increased consolidation in the
 retail industry; (vi) the Company's ability to successfully implement its
 Earnings Enhancement Plan, including the relocation of functions to St.
 Louis and the Company's ability to attract and retain talent; (vii)
 political and economic conditions or other threats to continued and
 uninterrupted flow of inventory from China and Brazil, where the Company
 relies heavily on third-party manufacturing facilities for a significant
 amount of its inventory; (viii) the Company's ability to attract and retain
 licensors and protect its intellectual property; (ix) the Company's ability
 to secure leases on favorable terms; (x) the Company's ability to maintain
 relationships with current suppliers; (xi) the uncertainties of pending
 litigation; and (xii) the Company's ability to successfully execute its
 international growth strategy. The Company's reports to the Securities and
 Exchange Commission contain detailed information relating to such factors,
 including, without limitation, the information under the caption "Risk
 Factors" in Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report for the year ended
 February 3, 2007, which information is incorporated by reference herein.
 The Company does not undertake any obligation or plan to update these
 forward-looking statements, even though its situation may change.

SOURCE Brown Shoe Company, Inc.