Footwear Stocks Get Trampled

Equity markets were a sea of red Thursday, as the gains footwear stocks saw just a day earlier were erased.

Out of 30 footwear firms tracked by Footwear News, 29 saw their shares close lower by end of trading on Thursday. The sector was down an average of 6.9 percent.

The one lucky gainer was Heely’s Inc., which eked out a 0.5 increase in its share price after a lousy day of trading that also saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose more than 500 points. The index rode a jagged path downward before finally closing 4.3 percent lower at 11,839 points.

World markets were slammed Thursday as worried investors fled from risky assets amid a general market sell-off. The New York stock market suffered also from mixed July same-store sales reports, which showed an almost equal number of stores beating analysts’ expectations and falling short of them.

At Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 had slid 60 points, or 4.8 percent, to 1,200 points. The Nasdaq Composite slumped 137 points, or 5.1 percent, to 2,556 points.

Among the shoe stocks, the biggest loser was K-Swiss Inc., which Thursday morning reported second-quarter results that disappointed analysts and investors. Its loss widened 36.5 percent to 56 cents a share, sending its shares down 25.6 percent to $7.61.

Most other footwear shares saw declines between 4 percent and 8 percent. DSW Inc., Crocs Inc., The Jones Group and Deckers Outdoor Corp. experienced loss across the board, with their stocks down between 10 and 12 percent. Meanwhile, Weyco Group Inc., Kenneth Cole Productions and LaCrosse Footwear Inc. emerged relatively less scathed, slipping 0.5 percent, 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Markets in Europe were also lower, amid growing fears that the euro-zone debt crisis could intensify as the European Central Bank failed to provide help for the beleaguered Spanish and Italian economies.

France’s CAC-40 index shed 3.9 percent, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index and Germany’s DAX both dropped 3.4 percent, Italy’s FTSE MIB declined 3.2 percent and Spain’s IBEX 35 fell 2.9 percent.

Asia was marginally better, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipping 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average and China’s Shanghai Composite index managed to inch up 0.2 percent.

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