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Exclusive: Keds to set foot back in the UK

US footwear brand Keds is re-entering the UK market for spring 20, Drapers can reveal.

The company, which is owned by US footwear brand house Wolverine Worldwide, has entered into a strategic commercial partnership with London-based distributor Goldfinch Agency.

Keds will begin its phased relaunch in the UK on 5 March, as part of its new global brand spring 20 campaign.

In the UK market, the collection will be purely for women. Its men’s and kids’ footwear ranges will not be distributed in the UK, but the company said it may launch its kids’ footwear in the future.

Keds will be stocked in White Stuff, on Zalando and Amazon Fashion. It has also secured three independent stockists: Hungerford-based womenswear boutique Jax Jeans, footwear independents Mimosa in Farnham and 4 Feet Shoes in London. 

The focus for future expansion will be independent, multiple and online retailers.

Keds exited the UK market between 2016 and 2017. It decided to restructure from a self-distribution model, where stock flowed through a Wolverine distribution centre in the Netherlands, to a distributor-led model.

“At the time, Keds as a brand was restructuring and repositioning its business in EMEA which affected the distribution channels across the region, including the UK market,” a Keds spokeswoman told Drapers. “This was also the time when our product and brand messaging focus pivoted to a much younger consumer led by the US market, which didn’t resonate with the UK.”

In 2016, Keds was stocked in Schuh, Asos, Topshop and Size?.

Founded in the US in 1916, Keds is now stocked globally across North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. Across the EMEA region, it is currently present in 12 markets: UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Norway, Malawi and Saudi Arabia.

North America makes up the majority of its global business. Keds has 10 stockists including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.

Wolverine Worldwide’s portfolio includes Sperry, Hush Puppies and Saucony. The company is also the global footwear licensee of brands Cat and Harley-Davidson.  



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