San Rafael, CA-based comfort brand Vionic has added two members to its executive team, naming Jerry Williamson SVP of global sales and Angela Caltagirone SVP of digital and brand marketing. Williamson previously served as EVP of sales for Lucca Lane and Latigo Footwear for Footwear Unlimited, and before that was director of sales at UGG, where he oversaw the women’s and kids’ businesses. Caltagirone previously led the digital team at Williams-Sonoma.
“Both Angela and Jerry will be tremendous assets to our business and will give us additional leadership and support in the coming years,” Vionic president Connie Rishwain said in a release. “Jerry and I had a great partnership at UGG and I am thrilled that we will work together again!”
Brooks Running Co. has opened a 400,000 sq.-ft. distribution center in Whitestown, IN, replacing its previous facility in Sumner, WA. The new location is expected to employ more than 130 people by 2023, and to allow the brand to ship to retailers and consumers within 3 days using ground shipping.
“Opening our new distribution center is an exciting and crucial step on our journey to become the No. 1 choice for all who run,” Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks Running Co., said. “We don’t want anything to get in the way of a great run, and that includes excessive wait times for new gear. Our team has thoughtfully created a center that streamlines this part of our supply chain, benefitting our retail partners, runners and the environment.”
The Whitestown DC should allow the brand to reduce shipping carbon emissions by 50 percent, the brand said.
In other news, the brand has signed a two-year partnership with San Francisco-based International Front Runners, a network of LBGTB+ running clubs, to promote and support the growth of Front Runners in the U.S. and Canada, the Seattle-based brand has announced. “We have always believed running is the most inclusive sport ever known—all are welcome. That’s why we’re excited to work with International Front Runners to cultivate opportunities to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ running community,” Weber said. “International Front Runners has a strong reputation of creating community for runners and using the run to build bridges; their history and tradition are impactful, and we look forward to furthering their mission.” To coincide with the sponsorship, Brooks released a “Run Proud” apparel and accessories collection on May 15 ahead of Pride Month in June.
Consumer spending on sporting goods equipment and athletic footwear and apparel grew slightly in 2018, the National Sporting Goods Association reported. Purchases rose 1 percent to $69.9 billion, the NSGA said, with footwear and apparel both rising 1 percent.
“It was a stable year,” Julie Pitts, NSGA director of research and business development, said. “For the second straight year the industry experienced 1 percent growth. While it was not as high as we would like it, it has not decreased overall, either. With equipment, online sales have continued to grow, and at the expense of the specialty sport channel.”
The walking shoe category saw the biggest dollar gains, followed by gym/fashion sneakers, basketball and aerobic shoes. Online sites took the largest share of footwear purchases, followed by sporting goods stores, and discount stores and specialty footwear shops were both third.