Holiday Sales Start Strong for Shoes

Boots boosted footwear sales for both brick-and-mortar and e-tailers during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period.
“Steve Madden stores were slammed for all day on Friday and remained steady on Saturday,” a Sterne Agee industry report said on Monday. “The Madden stores were giving their customers a scratch-off card that offered 20 percent to 50 percent off their purchase, with many of the top styles excluded from the promotion. Nonetheless, our channel checks indicate that many of the excluded styles, which were, for the most part, boots, were bestsellers even with the scratch-off card.”
Winter styles also dominated at Endless.com, noted Shelley Salomon, president of the e-commerce site. “It was every kind of boot: ankle, knee-high, designer and mid-range, high-heel and flat — everything,” she said.
Salomon declined to reveal numbers, but indicated that sales overall were strong for Endless. “The response to our Black Friday and Cyber deals exceeded our expectations,” she said. “Customers really gravitated toward these special deals, as well as regular-priced items in all footwear categories, but especially in designer and fashion. Party shoes by Kate Spade, Badgley Mischka, Dolce Vita, Madden Girl and Betsey Johnson were among our top-selling brands.”
She added that purchases were “well-rounded,” a clue that customers were not just buying for themselves and that gift giving was top-of-mind.
David Neri, Belk EVP and GMM, said boots also were driving shoe sales this past weekend for the 303-door, Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer. Footwear sales had a double-digit increase over the same period last year, and this year’s top-selling brands included Frye, Ugg Australia and Rampage.
“We did much better than expected,” Neri said, noting that many Belk customers purchased multiple pairs. “We had really aggressive plans, and we surpassed them. We’re feeling pretty bullish about the rest of the month, too.”
Neri added that e-commerce sales were also steady on Cyber Monday, and Belk.com was offering discounts on a variety of boot brands throughout the day. “We have set very high expectations [for online sales], and we’re pumped,” he said.
Jon Singer, CEO of the Singer 22 boutique in East Hills, N.Y., said Monday’s Web traffic was also swift for his e-commerce site. By mid-afternoon, the site was having trouble handling the high volume of shoppers, and Internet purchases were already up 75 percent over the same day last year.
For his brick-and-mortar store, Singer said overall sales increased 80 percent over the same weekend a year ago. “We expected the numbers to be up, but they’re higher than we thought they would be,” Singer said, noting that best-selling footwear brands included Koolaburra and Jeffrey Campbell in women’s, and Red Wing and Supra in men’s.
Erika Vala, owner of Shoe Market in Brooklyn, N.Y., said her store saw a significant sales increase over the weekend, with boots leading the pack there, too.
“With boots, there’s a practical need mixed in [with fashion],” Vala said. “Everyone wants to know if the boots are waterproof. Hunter is doing amazing, as well as Tretorn and a shearling-lined boot from Ugglebo, a brand we recently started carrying.”
Vala said styles from the store’s go-to labels such as Dolce Vita and Jeffrey Campbell also continued to hold their own during the holiday kick-off. “People are still looking for shoes they can wear all the time, like the Jax bootie from Dolce Vita,” she said. “That’s the kind of shoe that can take a girl all over the city.”
According to Vala, the bulk of Shoe Market customers ushered in the holiday season by shopping for personal items, but those who were on the hunt for gifts homed in on kids’ items. Hot sellers in children’s included Lisa B. baby socks and moccasins from Laurentian Chief.

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