Allen Edmonds to export Wisconsin-made shoes to China

Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds Company today announced a licensing agreement with Shanghai-based Talent Creations to sell its American-made business and casual shoes in China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Talent Creations is a branded retail company that recruits and manages international apparel and footwear brands in the China retail market. Under terms of the license, Talent Creations will open Allen Edmonds branded stores and sell Allen Edmonds’ American-made shoes, accessories and apparel in China. The first Allen Edmonds store will open in Shanghai in the 2nd quarter of 2012.
“This is an exciting and unprecedented partnership in our company’s 90-year history,” said Paul Grangaard, president and CEO of Allen Edmonds. “Collaborating with Talent Creations will open the burgeoning Chinese markets for our brand and all of our products; and the long-term volume opportunity will help us create additional manufacturing and logistics jobs in Wisconsin.”
Allen Edmonds currently employs nearly 330 people on its production lines in its Port Washington factory. The company has added 130 craftspeople in Port Washington since January 2010. Allen Edmonds also owns and operates 37 retail stores across the U.S. with plans to add more in 2012.
“Today, over 98 percent of shoes sold in America are imported – many of them cheaply made and disposable. It’s fantastic for us to continue to make shoes in the U.S.A. and now to export our American products to China,” Grangaard said. “People around the world want great quality and respect American manufacturing. Our reputation and our longevity have been built on the fact that our shoes last for years.”
Despite the sluggish economy, Allen Edmonds’ sales in the United States for 2011 will be up almost 25 percent from 2010. Sales were up 20 percent in 2010 over 2009.
“The Chinese consumer values great style, quality and a well-established brand heritage. We believe that Allen Edmonds possesses all these important brand attributes,” said Kelvin Chao, president of Talent Creations. “We are proud to partner with Allen Edmonds to introduce the iconic American brand to the rapidly growing China market.”
Talent Creations plans to open many Allen Edmonds retail stores in China over the next 10 years. Each store will sell both Allen Edmonds business and casual shoes, including the brand’s new premium line, The Independence Collection, with each style named after a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The stores will also carry the recently introduced Rough Collection, which blends classic designs and construction with distressed western leathers for a more contemporary casual look.
The China-based stores will also sell Allen Edmonds belts, small leather goods, socks and new seasonal apparel.

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