Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) entered Canada in August 2014 when they acquired the majority interest in (now sister company,) Town Shoes. With seven DSW locations across the GTA and more popping up in Vancouver, Edmonton and Regina later this year, DSW Canada is a shoe lover’s dream. While the promise of deep discounts on brand name footwear sounds great, just how good are the shoe prices at DSW Canada?
Savvy, cross-border shoppers will be familiar with this value-priced, multi-brand footwear retailer. Designer Shoe Warehouse is known in the United States for boasting massive stores that carry thousands of pairs of highly discounted brand name shoes (20,000 pairs to be exact). With over 430 locations in the U.S., cross-border shoppers who frequent major shopping centres like New York’s Walden Galleria, may have scooped up a shoe deal or two at DSW in the past.
As Canadian consumers, we have come to expect a slightly diluted version of anything American that enters our market (remember Target?). With the weak Canadian dollar making quick trips across the border more difficult for budget conscious shoppers, we opted to stay home and examine the footwear offering at DSW Canada. Here’s everything you need to know about shoe shopping at DSW Canada:
Expect a spacious, organized and well-lit shopping environment at DSW Canada. Footwear is organized according to gender and then categorized by style. Similar to a Marshalls, boxes of footwear in multiple sizes are stacked in piles below a sample shoe. The current season’s best sellers and hottest styles are featured at the front of each aisle. Shoe shopping is a breeze at DSW Canada, in comparison to U.S. DSW locations. U.S. stores are known for being messy and overstocked with merchandise, making them visually overwhelming.
We found a mix of killer shoe deals amongst the rows of moderate price savings at DSW Canada. DSW took the liberty of highlighting impressive shoe deals with price tags indicating “BIG DEAL!” where savings surpassed the $40 mark. All other shoe savings averaged a modest $15 between the selling price and the indicated “Compare At” price.
Similar to U.S. locations, DSW Canada offers a subtlety advertised Price Match program where shoppers can show a store associate the ad for an identical footwear item and DSW will match the price.
If you blink, you might miss the Clearance Department at DSW Canada locations. The clearance section at DSW Canada stores is discretely hidden at the backs of stores. Once you find it, you will not be disappointed by the selection. The styles might be dated (from one or two seasons ago), but the price savings are much more impressive. The clearance department works on a coloured sticker system where you can score additional markdowns of 20-70% off the lowest ticketed price.
Brand Name Footwear
The selection of footwear brands carried by DSW Canada replicates the selection at U.S. locations by up to 80%. While this difference eliminates more high-end brands, it allows for DSW Canada locations to carry discounted footwear brands exclusive to Town Shoes.
All in all, we found the shoe shopping experience to be interesting at DSW Canada. While the price savings weren’t nearly as brag-worthy as those found at American DSW locations, the shopping environment was welcoming and easy to shop.