U.S. Footwear Sales Gain In June, Retail Traffic Improves In Mid-July

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According to the latest data from The NPD Group, total U.S. footwear sales returned to growth in June, rising 5 percent, to $2.6 billion. Overall retail traffic also continued its upward trend, slipping just 0.88 percent in the third week of July, a gradual but significant improvement over the declines seen in prior weeks.

By group, sales in men’s footwear rose 6 percent year over year, to $1.1 billion, in June while sales in women’s footwear gained 2 percent year over year, to $1.2 billion. But it was children’s footwear that saw the greatest percentage growth, increasing 17 percent year over year, to $344 million.

According to Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst at The NPD Group, the “overwhelming driver” in the fashion and leisure footwear market this spring has been fashion sneakers. Still, June saw some acceleration in sandals as summer temperatures arrived across the country.

In women’s, strappy sandals grew double-digits, driven by key lace-up and block heel styles,” Goldstein added. “Sport slides and outdoor sandals were strongest for men. Seasonless fashion boots were also strong in June, driven by booties with novelty touches, such as peep toes, cutouts and fringe on the women’s side, and ankle styles for men.”

June was also an “outstanding” month for athletic footwear, according to The NPD Group’s sports-industry analyst Matt Powell.

“While June is a minor month in terms of sales contribution, the strong results should provide a platform for a solid back-to-school season,” Powell said. “June results were so strong that the year-to-date trend for athletic footwear increased from 3 percent to 4 percent.”

The running business also saw a mid-single-digit increase.

“It was a particularly good month for this category within the men’s and kids’ athletic footwear markets,” Powell added.

Sales within casual athletic grew in the high-single digits, while classics remained the dominant story in athletic footwear across the men’s, women’s and kids’ markets, with dollar sales up 56 percent overall.

Meanwhile, warm weather continues to lend a helping hand to overall retail traffic in July, according to Cowen and Co. analyst John Kernan.

The last week of July is forecast to be the warmest or second warmest in 25-plus years across the U.S. which should help retailers’ summer sales,” Kernan wrote on Monday. “We expect widespread heat will be favorable for summer clearance and summer consumables.”

*The information in The NPD Group’s report comes from its monthly point-of-sale footwear database. It is collected from athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain store, department store and other channels.