With Christmas just two days away, storeowners told Footwear News they are trying to adapt to the milder temperatures, which have significantly slowed boot sales.
“We would only be busy in December if the weather was cold enough for us to sell winter product,” said Edna Galo, owner of New York-based Galo Shoes. “Customers are not going to buy snow boots if it’s 58 degrees outside.”
Projecting flat sales compared with last December, Galo said a bright spot for her two Manhattan stores has been the growth of the retailer’s e-commerce business, which is now in its 18th month. For the last two weeks of this month, Galo is hoping markdowns of half off select items will help draw more customers to her brick-and-mortar locations.
Upstate, in Buffalo, N.Y., Shoefly owner Sue Marfino also said milder temperatures have impacted holiday sales. “I wouldn’t say our sales are down, but they’ve definitely shifted,” she said. “We’ve had more dress and leather boot sales, rather than the Sorel snow boot type of sales.”
Because there has not yet been significantly cold weather in her area, Marfino has had to extend her 10 percent-off, Black Friday promotion on snow boots through the month of December. She is hoping business will pick up more within the next two weeks, when consumers have holiday cash on hand. “We’re hoping people come in to spend gift certificates and grandma’s money, as well as buy themselves shoes for New Year’s Eve,” Marfino said.
Still, not all retailers are feeling the heat. Saxon Shoes President Gary Weiner said his stores in Richmond and Fredericksburg, Va., are seeing robust sales. “Our hope for the balance of the holiday season is that we finish pretty strong above last year’s [sales] numbers,” Weiner said. He predicted a sales increase of 5 percent to 10 percent over last December, with styles from Ugg, Toms Shoes, Dansko, Frye and Clarks expected to drive most of the business.