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Why Bandier Is Going Deeper Into the Sneaker Market

As the luxury industry has come to embrace sneaker and streetwear culture, the masses are also continuing to embrace wellness trends and a greater demand for sport leisure comes with the territory. Case in point: As of August 2019 sport leisure footwear sales grew 7% in a year’s time, while fashion and performance footwear sales declined 5% and 7%, respectively, according to NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service. It’s this perfect storm of opportunity that’s prompted a renewed approach for Bandier in 2020.

“2019 was an extremely successful year for footwear, closing up 50% [compared with the] prior year,” Shefali Shah, Bandier’s chief merchandising officer, told FN. “However, we have seen a particular surge in performance beginning just after the close of 2019.”

This prompted the retailer to add to its footwear portfolio in order to provide for consumers deeply invested in both fitness and fashion. Shah notes that focusing on this intersection is helping to solidify the brand’s place as a standout in a competitive marketplace.

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In the five years it has been in business, Bandier has already opened six New York locations, one Texas outpost and feted a 8,800 square foot store on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles last year. With sales split 50/50, online to in-store, Bandier plans to test other markets for retail locations all the while addressing aggressive sales goals for 2020 — footwear being a major contributor to that.

In line with its strategy at the L.A. retail location, which dedicates one of its three floors solely to footwear, the retailer is continuing to boost its sneaker assortment. “In 2020, we have made tremendous strides to further diversify our brand matrix,” said Shah. “We have added 10 new  brands that will be critical in helping us achieve our 45% sales growth plan to last year.”

The brands include Veja, Diadora, RE/Done, Champion, Onitsuka Tiger, Asics, Converse, Brand Black, Birkenstock, Sorel, Ganni, Suicoke and Montelliana to round out a variety of footwear options including performance and lifestyle sneakers as well as slides and sandals.

In addition to diversifying brands and types of footwear, part of Bandier’s 2020 strategy is providing greater access to coveted collaborations. In 2019, the retailer was already was able to nab inventory from big collabs such as Adidas x Pharrell, Adidas x Missoni, Reebok x Victoria Beckham and Puma x Balmain collaborations.

And Shah said there’s more to come.

So far, Bandier has already kicked off its collaborative offerings in 2020 with Adidas x Ivy Park and its plans to continue to cater to its style focused shopper. “We are always looking for new talent and elevated price points given that our core consumer is not price-resistant,” Shah said. “It’s important we offer her the most exciting shoes in the market.”

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