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Steve Madden upgrades digital offering

Social sharing, editorial commerce and improved targeting are said to be among the technological upgrades leading footwear brand and retailer Steve Madden has made to its Web site.

The company relaunched its Web site this week and integrated a range of features and functionality that should resonate with footwear aficionados. For example, the site will feature user generated content from Instagram by leveraging a new technology that pulls from hashtags and a social log-in from Facebook that allows customers to share products they love, purchases, as well as editorial content from trend and look book pages, according to the company. In addition, an area called Friend Faves allows shoe shoppers to see what their friends and fans of the brand have purchased, loved, pinned and tweeted, providing them with a unique and socially integrated experience.

Other changes included the relaunch of SM World dedicated to all things Steve Madden including a blog, SM Music, Steve Madden in the news, celebrity collaborations and event listings. All posts will be shoppable and link back to product available on the site. Lastly, the company said the site will feature improved targeting of customers based on prior visiting behavior and purchase behavior.

The heightened digital effort follows what was a difficult fourth quarter for Steve Madden’s retail business. Sales for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 increased 8.7% to $343 million, but that gain was driven by the addition of 12 new stores, as same store sales declined 6.7%. The company ended the year with 121 stores and includes in that total the four Internet stores it operates.

Weakness at the retail division, where promotional activity compressed margins to 61.4% from 63.7%, proved to be a drag on the company’s overall results. Sales at the larger, but less profitable, wholesale business increased 10.6% to $273 million while retail sales increased 1.7% to $69.5 million. Net income increased 8.2% to $35.7 million, or 54 cents a share, compared to $33 million, or 49 cents a share the prior year.