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Consumer spending stalled in 2008, but footwear companies were quick to respond with leaner budgets. Among the first expenditures to be cut was travel, causing some companies to forgo trade shows. Advertising and staff cuts also ranked high on the list.
BIGGEST SALES DRIVER: Price cuts
Throughout the year, independent and chain retailers told FN they were more promotional with merchandise — although that turned out to be just a warm-up to the recent holiday season, when even high-end department stores were slashing prices. And it seems there was good reason: A whopping 65 percent of footwear players said that sales promotions were the best tool to convince consumers to buy. The next best thing was the shoe design, with store selection and advertising a very distant third and fourth.
2008 SALES DECLINES AND PREDICTIONS
Roughly 41 percent of shoe players said sales in 2008 slid by 5 percent. And they could fall further in 2009, with 10 percent of readers expecting a decline as high as 25 percent.