Shoe Sales Slip 4 Percent In May As Retailers Prepare For Back-To-School Season

Different month, same trends.

Market research firm The NPD Group said overall footwear sales, much like the rest of the retail market, continued their downward trend, dipping 4 percent last month.

By group, women’s saw the greatest decline, slipping 6 percent. Men’s decreased 4 percent, and sales in children’s fell 5 percent.

Athleisure trends remain solid, with total leisure footwear sales — which includes casual athletic styles as well as work boots and outdoor sandals — increasing 11 percent.

Seasonless and transitional footwear styles were the bright spots during a mostly cold and wet May,” said Beth Goldstein, executive director and accessories-and-footwear analyst with The NPD Group. “Fashion categories again lost to the athletic-inspired sneaker styles, but there were some wins, such as booties for men and women, and select strappy sandal styles with trend-right details such as lace-ups and block heels.”

Specifically, fashion footwear sales slid 10 percent, with men’s down 12 percent and women’s down 10 percent. Fashion-footwear revenues in children’s also declined 6 percent.

Performance footwear — which includes walking, running and basketball shoes — also saw declines, with total sales in the category shrinking 6 percent.

It was another decent, but not great month for athletic footwear,” said Matt Powell, VP and sports industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Both dollar and unit sales grew by 2 percent in May compared to May 2015, while average selling price was down 1 percent. May is typically a transition period for the athletic footwear industry, when retailers clear old stock to prepare for the back-to-school season.”

Powell also noted that running sales declined 2 percent for May, as casual running trends could not offset a loss in performance running.

Meanwhile, he added, the classics category continued to lead sales gains for the athletic footwear industry, up by 22 percent.

“Almost every major brand in retro running experienced nice growth,” Powell noted.


*The information in The NPD Group’s report comes from its monthly point-of-sale footwear database. It is collected from the athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain store, department store and other channels.

TOMS Sponsored By TOMS

Building Business to Improve Lives

TOMS discusses its approach to mental health awareness and female empowerment through impact initiatives in the footwear segment.
Learn More

Access exclusive content