Shoe brand Aerosoles to be acquired by American Exchange

Diving brief:

  • Footwear brand Aerosoles has finalized a deal to sell to American Exchange Group, according to a press release.
  • American Exchange – which has its own brands as well as design, manufacturing and wholesale work for external accessory brands – plans to increase aerosol distribution channels and expand the brand into new categories .
  • Steve Velasquez, chief strategy officer of American Exchange, said in the statement that the company plans for Aerosoles to operate as a separate division “to focus on core brand DNA.” The terms of the contract are not disclosed.

Overview of the dive:

Aerosoles already tried to sell itself more than four years ago as it sought to balance winning over new consumers and maintaining its reputation as an affordable and comfortable option for older women.

Instead of a sale, the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 and immediately decided to close most of the 78 stores it operated at the time, leaving e-commerce and its wholesale business as the remaining sales channels. of Aerosoles.

Founded in 1987, Aerosoles was formed after the takeover of Kenneth Cole’s What’s What division and focused on the convergence of comfort and fashion.

The business was profitable for decades before hitting all the many challenges that drove dozens of other mall brands and retailers out of business in the late 2010s. Aerosols’ restructuring agent at time of bankruptcy cited drop in shopping center traffic, retail discounts and competition, shift to online shopping, rental costs after a major retail expansion and a major supply chain setback for its setbacks.

The brand survived bankruptcy and today sells at major retail outlets including Nordstrom, Macy’s, DSW, Zappos and Belk, as well as its direct channel.

Prior to the acquisition transaction, Aerosoles in partnership with American Exchange to collaborate on the design, branding and strategy of a line of value-priced footwear targeting mass retail as well as off-price channels.

The American Exchange wallet owned and licensed brands include Jones New York, Alexis Bendel, Nicole Miller, DC Comics, Zoo York and others.