FFANY Market Week is fast approaching, and event organizers are predicting it’ll be the show’s busiest edition in years.
“Our June and November events last year were very strong, but this time around we’re expecting an even bigger turnout,” said Sandi Mines, VP of corporate engagement at FFANY’s parent organization, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America. She noted that buyers from major retailers such as Saks, Nordstrom, Zappos, DSW and Stitch Fix are slated to attend the trade show in New York, plus many more specialty chains and independents.
FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest added, “People want to get back to New York’s most important market in footwear, bar none. People want to get here to see what’s happening and what the product looks like.”
FFANY Market Week will take place June 5-9. The event is a first opportunity for retailers to get a look at the spring ’24 collections from more 100 footwear brands.
Many will be presenting their lines in permanent showrooms, such as at 1370 Avenue of the Americas, where exhibitors will include the Camuto Group (Jessica Simpson, Lucky Brand, Bandolino), Marc Fisher Footwear (Marc Fisher, Calvin Klein, Guess), as well as Chinese Laundry, Rockport, Reef, Vionic and others.
And several labels will be in temporary showrooms at the FFANY Pop-up at 724 Fifth Ave., including Birkenstock, Toms, Dearfoams, Western Chief, Footwear Unlimited (Frye, Baretraps, Spyder), plus Billy Footwear, which is participating in the New York trade show for the first time. An updated list of exhibitors and contacts is available online at FFANY.org.
Separately, the Footwear Show New York Expo (FSNYE) is also taking place June 6-8 at the Park Lane Hotel and will feature more than 40 shoe brands, such as Minnetonka, Katy Perry Footwear, All Black, Lamo, Johnston & Murphy and Abeo.
In terms of special events, FFANY is not hosting an opening party during this edition. “We’ve tried to steer clear of adding anything to the calendar that would take away from business happening,” said Mines. “We listened to the retailers and brands [who told us], ‘We want to be really efficient with our time.'”
However, there will be plenty of opportunities for the industry to gather and network. The Two Ten Footwear Foundation is set to host its Annual Gala on June 6 at Pier 60 in Chelsea Piers. And on June 7, FN and Two Ten will co-host “Women Who Rock” at the Ascent Lounge, to celebrate women who lead with purpose. The event is headlined by entrepreneur Martha Stewart and a portion of event proceeds will go toward Two Ten’s WIFI scholarship.
“Whatever the economic headwinds impacting the industry, I think it’ll be a phenomenal time for us to come together, see each other and support Two Ten and Women Who Rock,” said Priest.
He noted that at the last couple of FFANY events, retailers were still cautious due to the ongoing supply chain and inventory issues, though the February edition showed some improvement. “We heard anecdotally that some of the key retailers were starting to purchase again because they were expecting to sell through inventory. And fresh product is still king no matter how much you’re selling,” Priest said. “At the June show, I’m very curious to see how many orders are placed, what’s the mentality, what’s the expectation for the back half of the year relative to the economy.”
In the first quarter of this year, U.S. footwear industry sales revenue was down 3 percent at $9 billion versus the same time last year, according to Circana. By category, performance footwear rose 2 percent in the quarter to $1.8 billion, driven by the sports segment. As for the leisure footwear category, wholesale sales slipped 3 percent to $4.3 billion, while fashion footwear fell 4 percent to $2.9 billion.
Priest said that while there has been some softening in consumer spending, the general mood remains upbeat. “A lot of companies are still bullish that the consumer is going to have that disposable income to come and purchase shoes,” he said. “They may not be purchasing homes because the interest rates are up. They may hold off on automobiles, but they’re going to still want and need footwear as we head into back-to-school in the fall and onward.”