Earlier this month, I attended the FDRA Executive Summit, where I learned that while footwear sales have risen for the seventh straight year, same-store sales actually contracted -0.9 percent in 2017. According to a report released by FDRA, “Shoe Review Footwear Report 2017,” the disparity between demand and actual sales will continue to spur fallout for the sector through 2018 as the industry responds to dull sales and declining store numbers. Footwear retailers are predicted to close hundreds of stores nationwide. On the contrary, there are still new stores being built that are having big success.
With demand for footwear strengthening, the report begs the question: “How can demand be high but same-store sales be falling?” The FDRA’s report points to a number of factors including the weakening dollar, higher interest rates and record-high average duties on footwear imports last year. But the true disparity lies in where and how consumers are shopping, as big-box stores, online-only retailers and other channels capture a greater share of overall shoe sales.