4 Stories That Dominated the Shoe Industry in 2019

The year 2019 marked a turbulent time for the industry’s top firms. These are the stories that dominated headlines.

CEO Shakeups

Kevin Plank, under armour ceo
Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank.
CREDIT: Shawn Hubbard

Fashion and footwear saw a wave of hirings, firings and promotions amid a challenging business climate. Under Armour and Nike sent tremors through the athletic marketplace in October when it was announced on the same day that Kevin Plank and Mark Parker would step down as CEOs of their respective companies.

Tit-for-Tat Tariffs

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping. President Donald Trump, left, poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, JapanTrump G20 US China, Osaka, Japan - 29 Jun 2019
President Donald Trump (L) poses for a photo with China’s President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
CREDIT: Susan Walsh/Shutterstock

The United States and China said in October they were working on a “phase one” agreement but made conflicting announcements about what such a deal would entail. In the past year and a half, the world’s two largest economies have imposed new duties on billions of dollars of items coming from both countries.

Bankruptcy Woes

Pedestrians pass Barneys New York department store, in New York. The scenario usually involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service _ not handcuffs. Yet when a black teen came forward with a story of being briefly jailed after buying a $350 belt at the Manhattan luxury store, it stirred up an age-old problem that many African-Americans still deal with todayDepartment Store-Discrimination, New York, USA
Pedestrians pass Barneys New York’s store.
CREDIT: Frank Franklin/Shutterstock

Some of the biggest retailers that filed for Chapter 11 protection included Barneys New York, which will close its existing stores following its November acquisition by Authentic Brands Group. Also, Payless ShoeSource went bankrupt in February and shuttered all 2,500 stores in North America.

Off-Price’s Winning Streak

People line up for doors to open in front of a Marshalls during a grand opening, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Marshalls, a leading off-price retailer, celebrates the grand opening of its San Juan location at Plaza Las Americas Thursday. Marshalls and its sister company, TJ Maxx, made a $100,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico to help rebuild homes for its neighbors on the islandMarshalls Store Grand Opening, San Juan, Puerto Rico - 22 Feb 2018
People line up for the grand opening of a Marshalls store in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
CREDIT: Ricardo Arduengo/Shutterstock

Low-price and discount retailers have consistently bucked industry-wide trends through their ability to offer both cheap prices and a treasure-hunt experience that can’t be easily replicated online. TJ Maxx and Marshalls parent TJX Companies, Ross Stores and Burlington Stores all posted third-quarter earnings that beat expectations, defying the challenges that have afflicted most of the sector.

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