Boots, Remodels on Agenda at NSRA Conference

Boots are in, according to experts at the National Shoe Retailers Association’s annual pre-FN Platform conference in Las Vegas yesterday.
NPD Group Inc. VP and industry analyst Beth Goldstein said one of the biggest opportunities for buyers right now is fashion boots that can be worn year-round, as opposed to just the colder seasons.
“There’s been a misalignment of winter weather and the selling season,” Goldstein said of the mild winters that have impacted retailers over the past two years. “As a result, fashion boots that can be sold through April are getting a boost.”
Goldstein cited Steve Madden, Vince Camuto and Sam Edelman as examples of labels that count fashion boots among their top sellers for the 12 months ended June 2013.
On the retail front, the analyst also noted a trend among footwear merchants to remodel their formats to elevate the in-store experience. Pointing to department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s, Goldstein said updates are a way to compete with the e-tail channel, which has grown exponentially faster than brick-and-mortar stores, at 17 percent.
“Retailers are trying to figure out how to keep customers in the store,” Goldstein said, adding that consumer confidence is still not back to where it was before 2008, despite hitting a five-year high this year. “Shoppers are much more measured about their purchases these days.”

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