Steve Madden is the eponymous and notorious footwear brand that most have heard of for one reason or another, not always for its shoes. The company’s namesake spent 31 months in a federal prison for cohering with Jordan Belfort, the charismatic broker who also served time for partaking in illegal activities – otherwise known as the Wolf of Wall Street.
The infamous movie of that name threw the duo back into the limelight in 2013, its success sending Steve Madden’s sales numbers up at the start of 2014. The Wolf of Wall Street premiered in New York on December 17 2013, arriving in the UK a month later. 2013 saw a 7% increase in sales for the retailer and during the time The Wolf of Wall Street was premiering (the first quarter of 2014), Steve Madden saw sales surge by 9%.
During the second quarter of 2013 however, Steve Madden’s success slipped slightly, with a 1% decline. Edward Rosenfeld, CEO and Chairman of the company, put this down to “poor mall traffic”, the opening of 11 new stores and the redesign of the website, suggesting decline had more to do with the company trying to bite off more than it could chew.
Profits were also problematic last year for the New York founded firm. Sales for the fourth quarter of 2014 were marked at $342.6m, roughly the equivalent as the same period the year before. Though retail net sales grew 3.2% to $71.7m, this was followed by a decline of 2.3% in retail comparable store sales. Commenting on the period, Rosenfeld stated:
“Fourth quarter was a challenging period. Our financial performance was below our expectations due primarily to air freight incurred due to the West Coast port slowdown; below plan performance in our newly acquired Dolce Vita division as we moved aggressively to clear excess inventory; and challenges caused by production delays on goods from Mexico”.
As a result, the shoe retailer has started January 2015 rather slowly, with shares slipping 2.4% . This hasn’t deterred Steven Madden from pushing forward and expanding his empire further. The company recently acquired boot maker Blondo, a Canadian brand focusing on waterproof leather boots, following several strategic investments in 2014, which included Dolce Vita and iconic high heel brand Brian Atwood. The company also has a string of star names backing its new ventures, including model Kendall Jenner, IT girl Kylie Jenner, Iggy Azalea and fashion blogger Shea Marie.
Though 2014 wasn’t the strongest year for the company, Steve Madden seems confident that its investments will pay off this year. Having started with just $1,100 selling shoes from the back of a car, alongside the company picking up after the founder’s stint in prison, Steve Madden is preparing to bounce back once again.