Keds puts spring in its step with new shops, Taylor Swift

Keds puts spring in its step with new shops, Taylor Swift

Riding on the momentum of its endorsement deal with pop-country songstress Taylor Swift, Keds is launching its first U.S. retail shops in nearly two decades.

The Lexington-based brand this month opened its first 150-square-foot Keds Shop at the Natick Mall, which features 45 of its sneaker styles.

The rollout comes as Keds starts the second season of its most recent brand-turnaround efforts and the second year of the Swift partnership, on the heels of double-digit, third-quarter revenue growth under new parent company Wolverine Worldwide.

“Through this whole relaunch, we’ve picked up terrific momentum, and we feel like now it’s the right time to get directly in front of our consumer,” said Stephanie Brocoum, Keds’ marketing vice president. “Our objective is to use shops to get direct consumer reaction — including feedback on products, the brand and brand campaign — and use that to strengthen the product line for our wholesale business.”

The shop includes full size runs for each style and features a digital component that allows customers to view exclusive video content, browse Keds lookbooks and order other styles via iPads.

The 97-year-old Keds, which plans to open five to seven more stores in regional malls this year, is definitely showing sales growth, according to SportsOneSource footwear analyst Matt Powell.

“This brand was ready to break out for a couple of years now, and we’re finally at a point where it’s starting to happen,” Powell said. “They’ve done a great job lining this up … but I think Taylor Swift certainly has been a catalyst for them. She really speaks to the teen and tween customers, and their moms, too.”