Athletic sales grew 5 percent for the 14 weeks ending Sept. 20 vs. the year-ago period, reaching $3 billion, according to Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group.
Driven by strong sales in basketball, which increased by 48 percent to hit almost 25 percent of total athletic footwear purchases, dollar sales hit $468.5 million in the three weeks beginning Labor Day and the first day of fall, up 9 percent from last year.
“Back-to-school shopping shifted this year to include September, which contributed to the September surge in footwear sales,” Marshal Cohen, The NPD Group’s chief industry analyst, said in a statement. “Retailers can learn from this example of how today’s consumers are in the ‘need now, buy now’ mindset.”
Outdoor footwear also saw a boost in September, with hiking, rain boots, and winter and snow boots seeing increases over last year’s September numbers, according to the group.
“This considerable jump in outdoor footwear sales over the past year can largely be attributed to the fact that consumers today, more than ever before, are looking to buy footwear that does more than just go for a hike or plow through snow, but is functional for their casual and outdoor lifestyle,” Cohen said.