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Readers' Choice: Best & Worst of 2011

Your votes for person of the year and best retailer.

business/news
Steve Madden
Nordstrom

Oh, what a year it was. As 2011 comes to a close, Footwear News readers weigh in on the big moments. In a recent survey, industry executives voted on the topics, trends and people that had a real impact on the marketplace. Despite economic turmoil, footwear had another huge year, as sales gained momentum and a number of firms shook up the status quo with bold launches, strategic acquisitions and executive change-ups. Of course, there were some clear winners (see Steve Madden and Nordstrom), but readers were split when it came to other topics, including the most compelling issue in 2011 (a tie between sourcing costs and consumer spending) and the most significant legal battle.

PERSON OF THE YEAR:
Steve Madden

BEST-PERFORMING WHOLESALER:
Steve Madden

BEST-PERFORMING RETAILER:
Nordstrom

WHAT ISSUE HAD THE LARGEST IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY?
33%  Sourcing costs
33%  Consumer spending
7%  European debt crisis
7%  Luxury revival
6%  Digital initiatives
5%  Toning backlash
5%  Mergers & acquisitions
3%  Made in USA movement
2%  Other
1%  Copyright lawsuits

WHAT WAS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT LEGAL BATTLE?
35%  Christian Louboutin vs. YSL
34%  Reebok vs. Federal Trade Commission
11%  Skechers vs. Sears
9%  Deckers vs. Emu
7%  Vibram vs. Fila
3%  Other
1%  Old Gringo vs. Lucky Brand

WHICH EXECUTIVE'S DEPARTURE SHOOK UP THE INDUSTRY?
34%  Matt Rubel
22%  Tamara Mellon
16%  Jeff Swartz
13%  Scott Silverstein
8%  Joshua Schulman
4%  Other
3%  Scott Savitz

Methodology: More than 160 industry executives participated in the Footwear News survey, conducted online Dec. 5-12.