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Fashion focused footwear delivers highest margins
Feb '08
The NPD Group Inc leading provider of consumer and retail information, released 2007 sales results for the U.S. Footwear Market. The dollar volume sales for the total U.S. footwear market (combined fashion and athletic footwear) totaled 44.4 billion dollars.

“Some may see this 2 percent as minor growth but considering it comes on the heels of 10 percent growth in 2005 and 5 percent in 2006, it's encouraging that the industry continues to find more business,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group Inc, adding, “This past year has had more challenges than most, yet the industry fared well overall. Not all fashion categories can say that.”

Once again this year we are seeing fashion focused footwear driving the biggest growth margins. Low performance athletic footwear, the category of athletic footwear designed to emphasize fashion and comfort, and skateboard shoes are posting the highest growth rates.

In the total market, growth for leisure/low performance was 11% for 2007, while skateboard shoes posted a 34% growth rate.

“Skateboard shoes are still a small share of the overall athletic footwear market, just under 8%, but from what consumers tell me, the crossover application of street and skate continue to drive the youth trends in footwear, and that will likely continue for most of 2008,” said Cohen.

On the purely fashion side of the U.S. footwear market, one bright spot worth noting is in the sales of boots, particularly the all-weather category. “The real winner in boots were the all-weather styles,” said Cohen.

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