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Retail Guide: Athletic Shopping List

Driven by the barefoot trend and new technologies, the running category is setting the pace in the athletic market.

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Converse

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Brooks

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Zacky’s
New York
Zacky Joseph, owner
Store count: 1 (23,000 sq. ft.); est. 2008

Hunting for: “Lightweight running shoes. We do well with a lot of Nike product, like Nike Free.”
Buying strategy: “We’ll probably buy a little more because we’re getting better at understanding this area. As a European-based store, we had to learn about the different customer tastes here.”
Can’t keep in stock: “The original Converse is constantly a good seller, as well as any Adidas classic styles, such as the Superstar, Campus and Samba.”
Best price point: Under $100 for running; $40 to $50 for casual footwear
Hottest new brand: “Vibram FiveFingers, which we’re working on getting for spring.”
Fall ’11 trend you’re betting on: “It’s still all about running now. Less basketball, less casual stuff and a lot of running.”
Fall trend you’re skipping: “The retro look is slowing down. We’re not anticipating it dying, but I don’t think it’s going to be as hot as it’s been.”
Mood at retail: “Customers are shopping a lot more for prices, and there is a lot of uncertainty for retailers.”
What you’re doing to spark sales: “We advertise on the front of buses in New York and have done it in collaboration with some of our vendors.”


Packer Shoes
Teaneck, N.J.
Mike Packer, owner
Store count: 1 (1,400 sq. ft.); est. 1907

How have shopping habits changed?
“At the end of the day, product is what wins, and people will buy if you have the right stuff. It’s not a brand-specific consumer anymore; it’s a product-driven consumer.”


Big Peach Running Co.
Atlanta
Mike Cosentino, founder
Store count: 5 (avg. 3,000 sq. ft.); est. 2004

Hunting for: “Anything our customers want but indicate they can’t find in our store or elsewhere.”
Buying strategy: “We’re planning [for] our business to be up so we’re buying more. Our footwear business has continued to grow.”
Can’t keep in stock: Brooks’ Adrenaline GTS 11 for men, Mizuno’s Wave Rider for women
Best price point: $95 to $110
Hottest new brands: “Vibram FiveFingers made 2010, and everyone is 
anticipating continued 
[momentum] in the [barefoot] segment. We also [are excited about] New Balance Minimus.”
Fall ’11 trend you’re betting on: “Hoka Shoe’s Hubble technology, which takes the zero-drop approach, is very interesting.”
Fall trend you’re skipping: “We’re not adding brands that aren’t doing things radically different.”
Mood at retail: “Awesome. We’re incredibly enthusiastic.”
What you’re doing to spark sales: “We’re continuing to blend in entertainment and education. It’s not enough just to be really good at fitting.”

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