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Van Dal pushes shop-in-shops following management buyout

Footwear brand Van Dal is rolling out a shop-in-shop model across its stockist base to lower the risk for independent retailers.

Following completion of a management buy-out last week it will focus on increasing its number of shop-in-shops, which involves taking responsibility for the stock sold through independents.

Managing director Tony Linford said the push had been designed to support smaller businesses while enabling continued growth. He found the increasing number of struggling independent retailers “disappointing”, and said under the new model Van Dal would be “getting more involved” in the retail side of the business.

Linford added: “The industry is becoming more vertically integrated and a lot of indies are struggling as a result. We can’t push the tide back, but we’re doing as much as possible to support our stockists. With the shop-in-shop model we carry the responsibility for stock, meaning there is less risk for them.”

Van Dal has 30 shop-in-shops including in Woodley’s Shoes in Bournemouth, Dorset and McKillens in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. It plans to roll out five shop-in-shops each season across the UK for the foreseeable future.

It is also seeking to expand its business with Charles Clinkard and Jones Bootmaker by upping the number of stores it is represented in and selling a wider product range. It is currently sold in 29 of 31 Charles Clinkard stores and in 23 Jones Bootmaker locations, plus six concessions.

It comes after the announcement last week that parent company The Florida Group had finalised the management buy-out from chairman Simon Goodman and family. Goodman will step down as chairman, although he will retain a stake in the company.

Led by Linford, the buy-out includes head of product Claire Farmer, head of marketing Jason Larke, head of finance and HR Pamela Clarke and head of logistics Anne-Mette Christensen.

Linford joined The Florida Group in 2008 and recruiting the current management team over the following 12 months.

Goodman said as he approached retirement, his “primary concern” was to secure the future of The Florida Group and the people who work within it: “This is a strong leadership team ideally placed to take the company into the future. I step down in the knowledge [it] is in safe hands.”

Van Dal is also expanding internationally for the first time, and has signed Hungarian distributor György Szabó and Denstock in New Zealand.

Linford said moves into other territories would happen “as and when [we] find the right partners”.

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