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U.S. Footwear Sales Slip In Q1 But Performance Footwear Gains

U.S. Footwear Sales Slip In Q1 But Performance Footwear Gains

U.S. footwear industry sales revenue was down 3 percent in the first quarter year-over-year to $9.0 billion, according to point-of-sale data published by Circana, formerly The NPD Group. Gains in the performance footwear category, led by basketball, were offset by declines in the leisure and fashion categories.

Sales in the leisure category reached $4.3 billion, down 3 percent. Sales in the fashion category totaled $2.9 billion, off 4 percent. Performance footwear sales reached $1.8 billion, up 2 percent. Circana’s data excludes direct-to-consumer sales.

“The footwear market slowed during Q1 largely due to weakening demand, but average price increases managed to keep the overall revenue losses in the low-single-digits,” said Beth Goldstein, footwear and accessories analyst at Circana. “Some callouts were the pockets of growth within the performance and fashion footwear segments, as sports and social activities regained their rhythm post-pandemic, and we can’t ignore Mother Nature’s impact on the boot season. Looking ahead, early reads on Q2 show signs of continued softness, so it will be important for brands and retailers to focus their merchandising and messaging to promote value and versatility.”

Circana’s data highlights from the first quarter year-over-year include:

  • Performance footwear outperformed the market, driven by the sports segments.
    • Basketball was the fastest-growing segment in performance footwear, followed by other sports categories, including baseball, track and field, soccer, American football, and lacrosse.
  • The combination of wild and mild winter weather in the U.S. was the catalyst for a challenging boot season.
    • The Pacific region, including California, Oregon and Washington, ranked as the second-best-selling region for cold weather boot sales in Q1, based on revenue, up from its fourth position last year, and it was the only region to show growth in this segment.
    • Tying into the atypical winter weather, the Top 5 (and 9 of the Top 10) fastest-growing cities for cold weather boot sales in Q1 were in California.
    • High shaft boots were the only fashion boot silhouette to show sales growth in Q1 versus last year.
  • Casual sneaker sales (sport lifestyle footwear) were up 3 percent, generating over one-third of footwear sales and gaining market share.
  • Fashion footwear sales grew 7 percent, driven by drivers and loafers, which returned to pre-pandemic 2019 sales levels, and pumps.
  • Slipper sales declined in Q1. While the segment remains above pre-pandemic 2019 sales levels, slipper sales were down double-digits for the quarter versus the same period last year.