website trades hands again, this time to DSW owner

Dive Brief:

  • DSW’s parent, Designer Brands, has acquired the domain, making the company the second (known) acquirer of the domain in less than two years after Walmart sold it in 2020.
  • A Designer Brands spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company acquired the website and intellectual property assets for an undisclosed price as a “key strategic retail domain.”
  • A message on the website tells visitors that “now we’re a part of” with a link to DSW’s e-commerce store. Footwear News previously reported on the acquisition.

Dive Insight:

The name has had a long and tangled history. Founded in 1999, was acquired by Brown Shoe Co (which went on to become footwear wholesaler and retailer Caleres) in 2000.

In 2014, Brown Shoe Co. sold the e-commerce site to Canadian e-commerce company ShoeMe. Under Brown Shoe, sales at had been declining for years before the sale. went bankrupt in 2017. Later that year, Walmart picked up the domain name and IP assets for $ 9 million, sending the traffic to its ShoeBuy e-commerce store, which Walmart acquired in 2017 through its now-defunct Jet subsidiary. (DSW picked up’s domain in the bankruptcy aftermath, according to trade media reports at the time.)

As Walmart revamped and repositioned its digital business, the retail giant sold off for an undisclosed amount to private equity firm CriticalPoint Capital, which at the time owned footwear retailer JackRabbit.

Last January, CriticalPoint announced that was officially part of its Running Specialty Group, which also owned other businesses including JackRabbit. The firm said at the time that the combination of and JackRabbit would create a “market-leading, omni-channel specialty footwear platform with a wide range of branded footwear.” Last year, CriticalPoint sold JackRabbit to running store franchisor Fleet Feet.

And now resides under Designer Brands and its DSW business, where the company has focused on e-commerce growth. In March, CEO Roger Rawlins told analysts that demand for DSW’s digital business hit $ 1 billion for the first time.

“The high-traffic domain furthers Designer Brands ‘long-range strategy to expand its footprint digitally and strategically position and distribute Designer Brands’ Owned Brands as well as shoes from top National Brand partners,” the Designer Brands spokesperson said.

No operating assets were part of the deal for Designer Brands did not name the seller of the IP and domain name.

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