TORONTO - More than 130 Naturalizer stores in the United States and Canada will be closed by early 2021 as Caleres Inc. adopts a digital sales strategy for the shoe chain.

Calares says a large percentage of Naturalizer's sales already originate online, a trend in consumer shopping habits that has accelerated during the COVD pandemic.

Besides the 133 physical Naturalizer stores slated to close, Caleres expects to make changes to its back-office infrastructure to reflect the switch to digital.

Caleres, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., says it expects the Naturalizer closures to be completed during its fourth quarter, which began Nov. 1.

It also expects to record between US$20 million and US$25 million of pre-tax charges during the quarter and see between US$10 million and $12 million of annual pre-tax benefits.

For the nine months ended Oct. 1, Caleres revenue fell to US$1.55 billion from US$2.22 billion a year earlier. Its nine-month loss of US$362.1 million compared with a US$62.4-million profit.