US Shoe Company, Cole Haan, has moved to nobble loyal shoppers by trying to force them to buy shoes online in Australia at significantly higher prices than via their USA web site.
On the US site a pair of ØriginalGrand Energy Wingtip Oxford shoes cost A$260 Vs $350 on the Australian site The $350 price tag is some $90 more expensive than the US site.
SmartHouse understands that Sydney based distributor True Alliance have recently been appointed as the distributor of Cole Haan shoes in Australia. As a result Australian credit cards are being blocked via the US web site.
I have been buying Cole Hann shoes for two decades from their store in 5th Avenue New York or at South Coast Plaza in California, as well as online with the shoes shipped to Australia Posts US Shop Mate service where the cost of shipping is around $40 per pair of shoes.
In fact, my wife keeps complaining that I have more Cole Haan shoes than she has in her shoe collection.
Now Cole Haan is giving a two-finger salute to loyal customers by forcing them to pay inflated Australian prices for their shoes.
When you enter an Australian credit card for payment on the US site it’s rejected, instead you are promted to go the Australian site.
The cost saving using Australia Posts US service adds up especially when one buys three or four Cole Haan shoes a year.
In the case of the ØriginalGrand Energy Wingtip Oxford shoes the US price $206 or $260 Australia, add the $40 Australia Post shipping and you are still $50 in front.
Cole Haan was bought by Apax Partners Worldwide LLP for $570 million on November 16, 2012, from Nike, Inc.
What they inherited was a Nike developed inner cushion that is among the best I have ever come across in a shoe.
This coupled with their great designs has resulted in me being a long-time advocate of their shoes.
This issue is not about the price, it’s about the treatment of customers who have gone out of their way to spend tens of thousands over the years on their shoes in the past.
In fact, I bought my first pair of Cole Haan shoes in 1983 shortly after they opened their first retail stores in the USA, I have been buying their shoes ever since.
True Alliance brand manager Adam Hendler claimed last month that “Adding this brand to our portfolio is in line with the True Alliance philosophy of partnering with global, category leading brands and we are working very closely with Cole Hann to ensure their first foray into the Australian market will deliver exciting products as well as quality and value to our local customers,” Hendler said.
Hendler went on to claim that Tue Alliance will be explicitly focused on Australia and New Zealand, and that consumers will get almost the exact same product has its operations in the US – barring its high winter range.
He has not said why Australians will be denied access to Cole Hann waterproof winter shoes or their boots which in the past I have found to be superior to several other brands especially when wearing them in snow or heavy rain.
Cole Haan has not commented for this story.