Sandals Continue to Lead Sales Growth for Independent Footwear Retailers, Reports NPD

Port Washington, NY, June 25, 2015 – Today’s consumer focus on casual and comfortable fashion is the perfect fit for comfort-oriented independent footwear retailers, and sandals are reaping most of the rewards. Total sandal sales among independent retailers grew 8 percent to $1.2 billion in the 12 months ending March 2015, following a 9 percent increase in the previous year, according to global information company, The NPD Group.

Overall growth in the independent footwear channel has leveled in the 12 months ending March 2015, but there is positive momentum – mostly coming from sandals, which now represent 16 percent of dollar sales in the channel. While slipper and sneaker sales both grew among women and men, sandals experienced the largest absolute dollar gains of all women’s and men’s footwear types for the past two years.

“Sandals have transcended traditional limitations and become season-less, making room for new product and sales opportunities,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Clothing and footwear once designated for a specific purpose are now being worn anytime, and anywhere (with and without socks), because consumers are comfortable in them.”

Overall, comfort is a consistent standout for the independent footwear channel, including sandals.

More than 3 in 4 men*, and 85 percent of women** cited comfort as extremely important or very important when shopping for new shoes. The top selling sandal brands within the independent shoe channel demonstrate the consumer focus on comfort.

“Footwear brands regarded for comfort are responding to today’s trends with products that not only stay true to their reputation, but also expand their reach with more diverse and fashionable options,” added Cohen. “Independent footwear retailers embrace these trends and brands, while creating a personalized experience; both of which are very appealing to today’s consumer.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending March 2015
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / 2014 Men's Brand Focus Report
**Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / 2014 Women's Brand Focus Report

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