The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) has assumed management of the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY) operations in a move that means the merged entities now represent 95% of the US footwear industry.

FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest will oversee the union, while FFANY's executive director John Heron will become a strategic advisor to FDRA providing expertise on the New York marketplace and brands to ensure a smooth transition.

"FFANY has served the industry incredibly well and folding them into our FDRA infrastructure will allow us to bring together executives to better coordinate the industry's direction and support industry strengthening initiatives," said Priest. 

FDRA will immediately take over daily operations, trademarks and finances as well as oversee coordinating dates and industry activities of the FFANY New York Market Week. Existing FFANY members will now be part of FDRA.

"FDRA is the gold standard for industry associations across our country because of their tremendous impact on policy issues as well as robust communication platforms, information services and many programmes that support all aspects of the footwear industry," added FDRA chairman Mike Jeppesen.

"This union will position FDRA to be a stronger association that we can rely on to be a platform for industry communication, guidance as we evolve and leadership in setting priorities on the collective actions that move us forward."

Berkshire Hathaway Shoe Holdings chairman, Jim Issler, who is also a longtime director and past chairman of both organisations, applauded the move.

"Consolidation is nothing new to our industry, and in the last three decades we have witnessed retailers and wholesalers alike merging into much larger entities. The merger of the FDRA and FFANY will create an alliance that maintains the footwear industry's most important marketplace while forging an even stronger entity to promote the common interests of all the members of this new partnership."