Brown Shoe in the race to buy women's luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman

US footwear retailer Brown Shoe Company Inc is in the race to buy women's luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman Holdings, in a deal that could reach $1 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners, owner of Stuart Weitzman, had in August hired Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup to run an auction for the New York-based company.

Other interested suitors include private equity firms and financial investors, the report said.

Stuart Weitzman came into Sycamore Partners portfolio as part of its $2.2-billion acquisition this year of fashion company Jones Group - the retail chain that owns Nine West and Jones New York.

Stuart Weitzman is a luxury footwear and handbag retailer operating through 45 retail stores across the US, including New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and Palm Beach and 62 stores outside the US. The brand is now sold in more than 70 countries.

Brown Shoe Co is a $2.6-billion global footwear company operating the 1,100-store Famous Footwear chain. It also operates 100 specialty retail stores in the US, Canada and China under the brand name Naturalizer, as well as Shoes.com, the Company's e-commerce subsidiary.

Brown Shoe's brands include Naturalizer, LifeStride, Via Spiga, Sam Edelman and Franco Sarto. The company also owns licensed brands including Dr. Scholl's, Carlos by Carlos Santana, Fergie Footwear and Vince branded footwear.

Brown Shoe, which had acquired the Sam & Libby brand from Jones Group in 2012, had unsuccessfully bid for Jones Group this year.