Fast-growing DSW — Designer Shoe Warehouse — will open a store in the Madonna Plaza in San Luis Obispo this fall.
A $600,000 tenant improvement permit has been issued for the remodel of the space formerly occupied by Sports Authority, which closed its store here last year. The location, between Kohl’s and Best Buy, is nearly 24,000 square feet.
DSW operates large-format shoe stores, typically around 20,000 square feet, offering a wide selection of brand-name and designer shoes and accessories for women, men, and kids. The company operates 510 stores in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and its key target market is style-conscious women who rate the store highly for offering a big selection.
DSW has been expanding in California and opened a new store in Salinas in October. While it has locations in Central Valley cities like Bakersfield, Visalia and Fresno, the retailer has yet to come to the Central Coast until now. South of here, the closest DSW is in Thousand Oaks.
DSW faces tough competition from TJ Maxx, Target and the big Payless Shoe Source chain. Payless just declared bankruptcy, announcing the closure of more than 500 stores around the country, including the location in Arroyo Grande.
In San Luis Obispo a number of smaller shoe stores continue to do well, with the largest chain devoted to shoes being Shoe Palace, operating in a 15,000-square-foot space in the Marsh parking structure downtown.
DSW is currently advertising online for both floor staff and management job openings at the new SLO location.
The owner of the Madonna Plaza — Schottenstein Group — lists DSW as a tenant on its website even though the store has not been officially announced.
A spokesperson for DSW did not return a phone call for comment.
In a survey released a few years ago by Market Force Information, DSW was named America’s No. 1 shoe retailer by more than 4,000 consumers polled. Nordstrom, Nike, Shoe Carnival and Famous Footwear rounded out the top five.
John Lindt is the editor of news website sierra2thesea.net.