Does U.S. Shoe have rubber soles? On Feb. 17, it announced it had broken off talks to sell its footwear business after rival Nine West Group lowered its original $600 million bid for the unit. Predictably, U.S. Shoe's stock dropped 16% on the news. The next trading day, though, it bounced smartly back. In turning down Nine West, U.S. Shoe said it would explore separating or selling its three businesses--a move some shareholders have pressed for. Its profitable Lenscrafters unit is eminently salable; not so its apparel retailing business.

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