Brown Shoe Company, Inc (NYSE: BWS), the value-priced family footwear chain, has bought Mil-Mar Shoe Co, a privately owned 26-store footwear chain based in Milwaukee in a bid to raise its Famous Footwear chain's profile. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Mil-Mar sells brand name athletic, dress and casual footwear to the same target audience as Famous Footwear.

"Mil-Mar stores is a terrific addition to the Famous Footwear chain," said Brian Cook, executive vice president of Brown Shoe and president of Famous Footwear. "The stores are very similar to ours and will be efficiently integrated into our merchandising and distribution systems. In addition, it's a great match since Famous Footwear has been under-penetrated in the Milwaukee market where Mil-Mar has 16 stores. Mil-Mar's other 10 stores are in Illinois and Iowa, in locations that complement existing Famous Footwear markets."

Founded in 1958, Mil-Mar stores average 9,400 square feet and generate combined annual revenues of approximately $40m. The company operates Warehouse Shoes, Super Warehouse Shoes and All About Shoes.
Mil-Mar founder and principal, John D. Lubotsky, will join Famous Footwear, focusing on assuring a smooth transition. All store personnel will be retained.

"When searching for a business partner to carry forward our tradition of great brands and service, we were impressed with the sophistication and marketplace power of Famous Footwear," said Lubotsky.

With the addition of the Mil-Mar stores, Famous Footwear will have grown its store base from 800 two years ago to 900 today. Over the past 18 months, the chain has been aggressively expanding into new markets like Boston, the Pacific Northwest.

Known for its everyday low pricing, offering 10 to 50 per cent savings off manufacturer's suggested retail price, the chain ranks among the nation's top retailers of brands including Nike, Adidas, Skechers, Rockport, Esprit, and Wolverine.

Brown Shoe is a $1.6bn footwear company with worldwide operations. The company operates the Famous Footwear and Naturalizer chains of footwear retail stores and markets leading brands including Naturalizer, LifeStride, NightLife, Naturalsport, Buster Brown, and licensed brands including Dr. Scholl's, Barbie, Rugrats and baseball-hero Sammy Sosa footwear.

Brown Shoe has its headquarters in St. Louis, MO and Famous Footwear is based in Madison, WI. Brown Shoe information is also available on the company's website at www.brownshoe.com . Famous Footwear locations and other information can be found at www.famousfootwear.com.