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U.S. Shoe Sales Take Another Dip In March

This week, marketing research and consulting firm The NPD Group Inc. released its monthly report on U.S. shoe industry sales for March.

According to the report, total U.S. footwear sales for that month declined 2 percent to $2.9 billion, from $3 billion during the same month last year.

March was a month of confusing weather in many parts of the U.S.,” said Beth Goldstein, executive director and accessories-and-footwear analyst with The NPD Group. “Consumers got a taste of spring followed by rude winter reminders, and their footwear purchases reflected the conflicting feelings that resulted, but the athletic trend remains prominent.”

Total U.S. performance footwear sales, which encompass running, walking, basketball, golf and other kinds of athletic shoes, slipped 3 percent in March, to $988.8 million, compared with sales of $1 billion in March 2015.

Meanwhile, total U.S. leisure footwear sales grew 14 percent in March, to $813.1 million, from $710.9 million in March of the prior year. (Leisure footwear includes mountaineering boots, work boots, casual athletic, outdoor sandal, cold/all-weather boots, classics and hunting boots.)

Easter, and the school break coinciding with it, was a week earlier in 2016 than in 2015 and the sneaker business responded, growing 4 percent in both dollars and units for the month of March,” Matt Powell, sports-industry analyst with The NPD Group, said.

Fashion footwear sales saw double-digit declines, falling 12 percent in March, to $1.1 billion, compared with sales of $1.3 billion in the previous year.

The report uses data compiled by The NPD Group’s point-of-sale database from athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain stores, department stores and other channels.

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