Retail Guide: Polling the Industry

What’s really going on at retail?

Footwear News asked storeowners in an online survey to weigh in on some big issues affecting their business, including pricing, trade show buying, expansion plans and the new high-profile lines. And voters didn’t hold back. When asked whether celebrity brands generate sales numbers, an overwhelming 90 percent responded with a definitive “no.”

What does get people into stores, though, is must-have shoe styles, followed by sales promotions. Still, the majority of shoe sellers said they are back at full price, a sign that the economic recovery is finally being felt at the register.

What has the biggest influence on your merchandise mix?
38% said “Street Style”

What’s the most useful social networking site?
77% said “Facebook”

What strategic moves did you make during the recession?
Added product categories  31%
Opened new locations  16%
Redesigned our store   16%
Entered new domestic markets   8%
Closed locations   8%

What’s the pricing environment at your store?
56% are back at full price

What’s the best way to drive traffic at your store?
Must-have styles  37%
Sales promotions  27% 
Advertising  18% 
Special events  14% 

What are you buying at the trade shows?
Some spring and some fall  47%
Only fall ’11  33%
Nothing, will only preview  8%
Only spring ’11  6%
Nothing, already placed orders  6%

Are you buying more or less than a year ago?
47% said “Slightly more”

Do celebrity shoe lines drive business to your store?
90% said “No”

Which new celeb line has the best prospects?
31% said “The Kardashians for Sears”

Who should have the next shoe line?
Lady Gaga  38%
Oprah Winfrey  15%
Taylor Swift  13%
Angelina Jolie  8%
Blake Lively  5%