The comments from Caleres pertaining to AE's manufacturing ability, and Paul's comments about access to greater materials sourcing, gives me pause.
As a subsidiary to a much larger, and broader based clothing supplier, it would seem AE's corporate philosophy of quality and U.S. production will inevitably be drowned out. From his comments here and in the news, I've always thought Paul regarded AE as more a family owned enterprise despite its corporate owners. As such he has been able to keep it true to its traditions. Will the new CEO, be it Paul or someone else continue to do so? History does not give one hope.
Thankfully I have all the AE shoes and boots I will need or want for my lifetime. I hadn't planned on any future purchases, and am now glad I have oversupplied myself.
Gentlemen who have been sitting on the fence, consider 2017 your year to jump into the pond and have your fill. As for me, I'm glad my Iberian makers are still going strong.
This was the statement that got my attention:
"We’re also eager to explore their manufacturing resources, as we continue to focus on our ability to increase our speed to market.”
That means expanding production, which means off-shoring more of the production. I realize AE is a proud domestic heritage brand, but I'm over them. I have enough shoes in my rotation that I can look elsewhere at more interesting options. Once you've got the basics covered, AE loses it's relevance.