Yesterday's announcement that the Wolverine corporation (owner of brands such as CAT Footwear, Harley Davidson Footwear, Hush Puppies, Merrell and Sebago) is purchasing the Collective Brands corporation (owner of the Payless Shoe Source store chain and footwear brands Striderite, Keds, Sperry Topsider and Saucony), provides the perfect backdrop for this article.
The age-old adage, the big keep getting bigger and the small ______ (you can substitute your own words/s for the second part, since over the years I've heard it finished with multiple endings like the small keep getting smaller, the small go out of business, etc.), is as true today as it was when it was originally coined.
Companies acquire other companies to generate strategic growth. The move itself may be proactive or reactive, based on the industry business environment. Usually the projected growth is in a category the purchaser sees as an opportunity and not one they are currently the brand leader in, but there are times when that is not the case as well.
While business analysts spend their time figuring out the projected profitability from these unions and usually give their opinion whether they are or aren't good corporate moves, from the average shopper's point of view, the intrigue is just in finding out that two brands you are familiar with, but unaware they are related, are actually part of the same company.
The following is a list of some fashion brand relationships you may not have been aware of:
Adidas – Germany-based Adidas, the world's second largest athletic footwear and apparel company, also owns the athletic brand Reebok.
Amazon – American powerhouse e-tailer Amazon owns a number of e-tail brands popular in their own right, such as Endless, Zappos, My Habit and Shopbop. Its overseas division, Amazon UK, is parent to the successful online shoe retailer Javari.
Arcadia Group – one would assume right off that British junior fashion retailer, Miss Selfridge is owned by Selfridges. Not true. While it was a spin off of Selfridges department store when it was launched in 1966, it is currently owned (since 1999) by British retail conglomerate Arcadia Group, which also owns, among others, the chains Topshop, Topman and British Home Stores (BHS).
Brown Shoe – St. Louis based footwear powerhouse Brown Shoe, owns retail chain Famous Footwear, as well as the popular footwear fashion brands Via Spiga, Etienne Aigner, Sam Edelman, Carlos by Carlos Santana Footwear, Fergie Shoes, Franco Sarto, Naturalizer, Lifestride, Avia, Ryka and Dr. Scholls. In addition, they own the e-tailer Shoes.com
Galen Weston – Dutch high-end department store chain de Bijenkorf was bought by equally high-end British department store chain Selfridges. Selfridges, in turn, is owned by Canadian Galen Weston, who also owns the department store chains Holt Renfrew (Canada) and Brown Thomas (Ireland).
Gap – Gap owns the retail chains Banana Republic, Old Navy and e-tailer Piperlime.
Genesco – American company Genesco, which owns brands Johnston & Murphy and successful teen retailer Journeys, bought the popular British retailer, which is heavily penetrated in the UK teen market.
H&M – Swedish disposable fashion chain H&M also owns the quickly growing higher end COS retail chain.
John Lewis Partnership – The British, employee-owned John Lewis Partnership owns not only the John Lewis department store chain, but high street retailer Peter Jones, supermarket chain Waitrose and specialty food retailer Ocado.
Jones Group – This large American wholesaler/retailer owns the brands and retail chains Jones New York, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Anne Klein, Bandolino, Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i., in addition to well-known designer labels Stuart Weitzman, Joan & David, Kurt Geiger, Brian Atwood and Rachel Roy. They also owned high end specialty retailer Barneys NY for several years, but sold it off in 2007.
Kellwood – In 2011 Scotch & Soda, a fashion brand out of the Netherlands, was acquired by American fashion house Kellwood, which also happoens to own the brands Vince, XOXO, Baby Phat, Phat Farm and Sag Harbor.
Labelux – German fashion house Labelux owns luxury lifestyle brands Bally, Jimmy Choo, Derek Lam and Zagliani.
Li & Fung – Hong Kong based vertical retailer Li & Fung, through its acquisition of footwear company JimLar in 2010, owns the Frye and RJ Colt footwear brands, and the license to produce Coach footwear and Calvin Klein footwear.
LVMH – French luxury conglomerate LVMH owns designer lifestyle brands Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Givency and Kenzo, luxury accessory brands Bulgari and Tag Heuer, airports retail chain DFS (Duty Free Shops), and high end champage and spirits brands like Moet Chandon, Hennesy and Belvedere.
Neiman Marcus – American high end specialty store chain Neiman Marcus also owns the New York City luxury retailer, Bergdorf Goodman.
Nike – U.S. based Nike, the world's largest athletic footwear and apparel company also owns surf brand Hurley and owned until just recently the high end fashion accessories brand Cole Haan and soccer brand Umbro.
Nordstrom –owns not only Nordstrom Rack, but also an e-tail business called HauteLook.
PPR – French fashion conglomerate PPR owns a wealth of luxury labels including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, and majority interest in Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Additionally they own sport lifestyle brands Puma, Tretorn and Volcom.
PVH – American fashion house PVH (formerly called Philips Van Heusen), originally focused predominantly on men's dress shirts, now owns two of the world's largest lifestyle brands Calvin Klein (bought in 2002) and Tommy Hilfiger (bought in 2010), as well as Van Heusen, Arrow, Izod and G.H. Bass.
Sears – Moderate American department store chain Sears, also owns discount department store K-mart, the upscale home improvement chain The Great Indoors, fashion brands Lands End and Joe Boxer,and popular appliance brands like Kenmore and Craftsman.
VF – Another American fashion house, VF Corporation (formerly called Vanity Fair), owns denim-oriented brands from opposite ends of the price spectrum. On one end they have Wrangler and Lee, while on the other they own 7 For All Mankind. They also own a former high-end denim brand which is now sold exclusively through the lower end Kohl's department store chain, called Rock & Republic. Additionally, their stable of brands includes such fashion and performance brands as Nautica, John Varvatos, Timberland, TheNorthFace, Kipling, Vans, and Reef.