Caleres has promoted Natelle Baddeley to become the footwear company’s first chief design and product officer. She will report to Caleres president and CEO Jay Schmidt.
In this new role, the company said in a statement that Baddeley will now have creative oversight for the majority of the Caleres brand portfolio, including Naturalizer, Vionic, Dr. Scholl’s, Veronica Beard, Vince, Franco Sarto, Blowfish Malibu and LifeStride. She will be responsible for leading product strategy across design, merchandising, and innovation.
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She will also continue to “champion” Caleres’ sustainability efforts that aim to minimize the impact of manufacturing on the environment, the company said.
Schmidt said in a statement on Monday that Baddeley is a “natural fit” for this role. “She has a proven track record of improving go-to-market strategy, shaping creativity, designing commercial best-sellers, and developing her team members’ talents,” the CEO said. “This newly created position demonstrates our strategic vision and commitment to placing design and product innovation at the forefront of everything we do as an organization to accelerate growth in our brands.”
Baddeley joined Caleres in 2018 as SVP of design, merchandise, and product development strategy. Her career in footwear and accessories spans more than 30 years, including time as the SVP and creative director of global design for Nine West and Bandolino at Jones Apparel Group, where she was responsible for global trend and design direction for all footwear and accessory product categories, including all licenses. She also led footwear design at many European brands as well as retailers Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.
In a separate statement on Monday, Baddeley said she was “tremendously proud” of the work the company has done over the last five years to elevate product across Caleres’ portfolio of powerful brands. “I am passionate about innovation as the catalyst to accelerate brand value, improve customer loyalty and ultimately drive growth,” Baddeley said. “I look forward to working closely with Jay and the senior leadership team to achieve the strategic, long-term vision of Caleres.”
This news comes just weeks after Caleres reported its latest earnings. Last month, the St. Louis-based company reported that net sales were $695.5 million in the second quarter of 2023, a decline of 5.8 percent from $738.3 million at the same time last year.
Despite these numbers, Schmidt told analysts last month that the company’s brand portfolio has been “performing well” overall in the first half of 2023, providing a solid foundation on which to build. “As year-over-year comparisons ease, we expect sales trends will improve and, more importantly, the brand portfolio will make a larger and more meaningful contribution to the total company’s operating performance this year,” the CEO said.
The company expects net sales to fall between 3 percent and 5 percent in fiscal 2023.
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