In addition to a 3 percent dip in the overall running shoe category, the latest NPD data shows that total U.S. footwear sales also slipped 3 percent last month, to $1.5 billion.
That drop follows a 4 percent dip in total U.S. footwear sales in December, to $4 billion, despite the retail boost that was expected to come during the holidays.
January’s declines were steepest in the women’s market, which saw revenues slide 7 percent, to $659 million. Children’s shoe sales fell 1 percent, to $203 million, while men’s saw a modest 1 percent gain, to $596 million.
Despite ongoing sluggishness in running shoes, NPD analysts say athletic trends as well as fashion sneakers continue to be footwear’s hot category, with the leisure category pulling off an 11 percent gain in revenues, to $505.1 million, in the first month of 2017. (The NPD’s leisure footwear category includes work boots, casual athletic, outdoor sandal, sport slide and cold/all-weather boots.)
“After a disappointing December, sales of athletic footwear began to recover in January,” said NPD athletic-industry analyst Matt Powell. “A major bright spot was a mid-single digit increase in the athletic specialty/sporting goods channel. This channel had been hit hard by the void created by The Sports Authority closing.”
Powell added that while there are “still some bumps ahead” as the anniversary of the start of Sports Authority liquidations approaches, “the worst of the impact is behind us.”
Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst at The NPD Group, pointed out significant growth in fashion sneakers in January.
“Fashion sneakers represented 41 percent of men’s and 71 percent of children’s fashion/leisure sales in January 2017 versus 32 percent and 57 percent, respectively, in January 2016,” Goldstein said.
Still, in women’s, gains in sneakers could not offset losses in fashion boots, pumps and cold/all-weather boots, Goldstein noted.
(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.)