December 15, 2017 / 11:39 PM / 10 months ago

Fashion house Camuto Group taps turnaround advisor: source

(Reuters) - Camuto Group, the U.S. footwear, clothing and accessories wholesaler known for its Vince Camuto shoes, has hired a turnaround consultant after a deal to sell itself to Aldo Group Inc fell through, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Camuto Group’s move shows it is looking for ways to kickstart its business amid an upheaval in the retail sector, which has seen more than 18 U.S. bankruptcies this year, as consumer tastes change rapidly and e-commerce grows more popular.

Connecticut-based Camuto Group is working with Clear Thinking Group on shoring up its business, the source said this week, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Camuto Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Clear Thinking Group declined to comment.

Camuto Group’s fashion-forward shoes, bags and coats are found in major department stores such as Macy’s Inc (M.N), Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), as well as online, on a dedicated Vince Camuto page on Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) website and other outlets.

Montreal-based Aldo called off its acquisition of the Camuto Group’s footwear and accessories businesses in October. The two had announced the deal, without disclosing the terms, in August. The Camuto family had planned to continue running the apparel business.

Camuto Group is still looking for a buyer, sources familiar with the matter said. The company’s celebrity founder, Vince Camuto, died in 2015 and his family is now keen to shed the business, the sources added.

Vince Camuto was one of the original founders of Nine West, a shoe and accessories line now owned by retail-focused private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Nine West announced this year that it had hired an investment bank to help it address its debt load, which has become too great as sales have faltered over time.

Last year, Camuto Group acquired Sole Society, an e-commerce footwear brand also sold at Nordstrom.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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