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Coronavirus Cripples Q1 2020 Athletic Footwear Sales

To the surprise of no one, the coronavirus crisis has adversely impacted athletic footwear sales in Q1 2020.

In a note released by The NPD Group Inc. senior sports industry adviser Matt Powell today, he stated athletic footwear dollar sales declined from January to March 2020 in the mid-teens. The industry insider said limited-edition shoe releases in January helped increase sales by roughly 10%, February’s numbers dipped in the low single digits and March declined by 40% with the pandemic sweeping through the U.S.

In Powell’s recent notes on athletic shoe sales, he revealed declines of 73% for the week ended April 11 (which he suggested could show signs that the U.S. sales decline may be leveling), a drop of 75% for the week ended April 4 and 76% for the fourth week of March.

Powell further broke down the market, explaining men’s and women’s markets were down in the mid-teens and kids’ declined in the high teens. In terms of retail channels, he revealed the athletic specialty and sporting goods level, as well as shoe chains, experienced declines in the high teens, department stores dropped in the mid-teens and premium department stores were down in mid-single digits.

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In the final weeks of the period, NPD data showed declines in all categories and that also holds true for the quarter. For Q1, Powell said spring sports footwear (baseball, soccer and golf) declined an average of 30%, skate shoes dropped by 20% and performance basketball, sport lifestyle and running shoe sales fell in the mid-teens.

From a brand perspective, Powell stated the Nike brand portfolio — Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse — declined in the high teens, low teens and more than 30%, respectively. Several brands — Adidas, Skechers, Asics and Vans — declined in the teens, Under Armour fell 25% and Fila’s sales dropped nearly half.

Brooks and Puma, however, saw low single-digit increases.

Nike Inc. dominated the list of best-selling sneakers, owning nine of the top 10 spots. The list includes the Nike Air Force 1 Low, the Nike Air Max 270, the Nike Air VaporMax Plus, the Nike Revolution 5, the Nike Air Max 97, the Air Jordan 13, the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3, the Adidas NMD R1, the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG and the Nike Air Max 90.

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