Footwear brand Hush Puppies has returned to bricks and mortar retail after a five-year hiatus to raise brand awareness following the closure of many of its wholesale customers.
Hush Puppies managing director David Rist said that the collapse of footwear retailers such as Dolcis and Faith, as well as the closure of many footwear indies, had driven the decision to open a company-owned store in Bristol this week.
Hush Puppies, which is owned by footwear group Wolverine and has 450 UK wholesale accounts including Schuh, Jones Bootmaker and Barratts, last had a retail presence through a franchise partnership with Peter Newman Shoes in the early 2000s. It had two stores in Hastings and Maidstone, but ended its relationship when the business was unable to finance a roll-out.
In the 1990s footwear group Stylo operated 126 Hush Puppies stores but it converted them to its Barratts and Priceless fascias because of underperformance.
The 1,600 sq ft store opened at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol on Thursday and stocks 400 styles for men and women with retail prices ranging from £38 to £120.
Rist said the store was not part of a major roll-out but the company does plan to open four shops next year. “We’re got a fantastic wholesale offer but this is about showing off our full range in front of the consumer and it will help wholesale sales,” he said.