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Allen Edmonds Gains Footing In Exporting To China

12/06/2011

Wisconsin has a new export…and it’s not cheese or beer! The new export product from Wisconsin are shoes made by Allen Edmonds. Perhaps even more surprising is where they’re being exported – China.

Allen Edmonds has signed a ten-year deal with a Chinese trading partner to open 10 flagship stores and a number of satellite stores in 2Q 2012. In a reversal of sorts as the majority of the US shoe industry migrated off shore beginning in the 1970’s. Much of it went to China. Now over 98 percent of shoes sold in America are imported, largely from China.

This is a terrific opportunity for the Wisconsin shoemaker and an encouraging sign for other US brands. The growth of the Chinese middle-class has whetted the appetite for Western products in China.

American brands having success in China can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Playboy, Krispy Kreme and Kentucky Fried Chicken are just a few American companies finding significant revenue in China.

The Allen Edmonds deal is of significance because the products will be made in Wisconsin, USA. Beers, fried chicken and doughnuts can be made virtually anywhere on the planet. Allen Edmonds now has about 730 employees, having added about 120 since the beginning of this year. The Chinese deal will most likely bring about additional hiring.

I’ll raise a bottle of PBR to Allen Edmonds success in China any day!

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