Retailers Reflect on Holiday Shoe Sales

Time flies.

With just a few shopping days left in 2013, footwear retailers are already scrutinizing what worked and what didn’t this holiday season, and starting to map out moves for next year.


Read on to see what stood out for shoe stores in November and December, including the swiftest selling brands and hottest trends, as well as what’s on tap for 2014.

Daniel Kahalani, owner, DNA Footwear, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Holiday sales strategy: “We did a Thanksgiving sale, and we did a one-week sale [before] Christmas. Now we are going into our end of the season sale that starts Jan. 6.”
Top sellers: “Ugg is not dead. Everyone wants to say that it is, but there is still high demand. People also couldn’t get enough Sorel.”
Looking ahead: “We are looking like we are going to be about 10 percent up from last year. We will definitely coordinate more with accessories to make sure we have more of a story [for holiday 2014].”

Andrea Poukey, co-owner, Kick, La Crosse, Wis.
Holiday sales strategy: “We send out direct mailers to the top 20 percent of our customers for holiday with a coupon for $25 off of a $100 purchase or more. We do that every year and [it has] been working every year.
Top sellers: Sorel and Sam Edelman

Dan Ungar, president, Mar-Lou Shoes, Cleveland
Holiday sales strategy: “[A promotion offering 30 percent off boots] worked very, very well. Additionally, we did a 15 percent off friends and family [sale]… but frankly consumers are not even responding if it’s not somewhere between 40 and 70 percent off.”
Top sellers: Ziera, Clarks, SAS and Ugg classic styles
Largest holiday transaction: $1,500
Looking ahead: “We have to buy smarter up front. We have to have promotions on specific items and/or brands with deeper discounts. It’s the only thing that’s going to turn the consumer on and bring her into the store.”

Caroline Price, sales associate, Kicks Shoes, Columbia, S.C.
Holiday sales strategy: “Our owner is all about shopping local and giving back to the community. We always do something philanthropic at Thanksgiving and Christmas in exchange for giving our customers a discount… This year, at Christmas, our charity was Toys for Tots, which kicked off about two weeks before Christmas.”
Top sellers: “We’ve sold a lot of Dolce Vita, Vince Camuto and Kate Spade. They’re always good brands for us, in particular the Dolce Vita line because it’s very fashion forward but isn’t so pricy.”
Largest holiday transactions: “We had a few customers who bought four or five pairs of shoes. We also have a customer that usually comes in twice a year and makes a big purchase — this year it was six Rebecca Minkoff and Vince Camuto handbags.”

Dave Levy, owner, Hawley Lane Shoes, Shelton, Conn.
Holiday sales strategy: “We did radio spots that branded us — [no] promotions or discounting this season.”
Top sellers: “No. 1 [was] Ugg. A lot of people thought it would be way down, but it was exceptionally strong, [especially] the standard styles. Additionally, New Balance, SAS, Merrell, Dansko and Minnetonka. We also had huge increases with Kamik.”
Largest holiday transaction: About $4,000

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