So there were a LOT of topics in the last half of 2007 that I didn't take time to write about... but as you know one of my interests is in the online footwear battles... having been in that area from pretty much the start of it.
I couldn't help but notice the end of pretty much the last of the experiments of the "separate online shoe" entity... when Brown Shoe announced they were closing their shoes.com offices in LA and moving all operations to their St. Louis headquarters... and rolling the brand up into their direct to consumer efforts. For those of you who don't know who Brown Shoe is... they are the parent company of footwear brand such as Naturalizer, ViaSpiga, Buster Brown and the Famous Footwear retail chain.
It made nothing but sense to do this... even though some very good people in LA now found themselves "seeking new opportunities." The cost structure of that operation not sharing fundamental core services like merchandising... really made it hard for that operation to make a profit. We'll never know publicly whether or not it did because BWS doesn't report the P&L for the unit individually. But... in light of the currrent struggle on both the retail and wholesale sides of footwear... cutting the overhead was a good move.
I wish them luck as a competitor in the online shoe races... but with Zappos so far ahead now... and talking about breaking the billion barrier in 2008... you have to wonder whether or not it might be time to let shoes.com fade into the background along with sites like Webvan and BOO. I think it makes a very interesting case proving once and for all that owning what seems to be "the best" domain name... does NOT guarantee success.