Skechers has extended its Belgium distribution hub

Skechers has extended its Belgium distribution hub

Skechers USA is looking to improve efficiency with the installation of automation technology upgrates at its newly-expanded European distribution centre, in addition to stabilising its logistics over the long term.

The footwear maker has completed the fourth phase of an expansion to its distribution hub in Belgium, adding some 26,500 m2 to take the total to around 98,500 m2 – making it what Skechers claims is the largest company-operated DC in southern Belgium.

The centre, which distributes product to Skechers' subsidiary-managed businesses throughout Europe, including wholesale accounts, has been expanded twice before in 2009 and 2014. Automation technologies installed last year have increased efficiency, the company says, and additional automation upgrades will be operating by the end of 2016.

"To meet the increased demand, we are investing in our infrastructure, including improved efficiencies in our EDC, which allowed us to achieve a record 3m pairs shipped in a month during February and 8.1m pairs for the first quarter of 2016," says COO David Weinberg. "With the completion of our European Distribution Center expansion and with the automation to be fully completed later this year, we expect to be even more efficient in our largest market outside of the United States and prepared for continued growth in Europe."

In April, Skechers reported its highest first-quarter net sales in the company's history of US$978.8m, primarily thanks to a 47.1% increase in its international wholesale business over the first quarter of 2015. Europe, in particular, has seen strong demand, with double-digit sales increases in the first quarter for every subsidiary.

"After outgrowing our storage capacity, we had to manage overflow beyond our facility and this new building will allow us to consolidate storage into the EDC and stabilise our logistics to meet growing needs of the European market over the longer term," explains Sophie Houtmeyers, Skechers EDC vice president of distribution operations. "This added storage capacity also opens up space in one of our adjoining buildings for the installation of new automation technologies that have improved efficiency elsewhere in our facility. We expect these upgrades to be online by November of this year and when combined with the expansion will prepare us for the future."

In addition to the Belgium facility, Skechers also operates a 170,000 m2 LEED-Gold certified distribution centre in Rancho Belago, California that serves North and South America, in addition to additional smaller distribution centres around the world.

US Q1 in brief – Finish Line, Gymboree, Cherokee, Tailored Brands