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Why Rising Temperatures Could Revive Flagging Fashion Footwear Sales

As consumers continue to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, sales of fashion footwear have dropped accordingly, new data from the NPD Group shows.

No matter the outlet, U.S. consumers are buying fewer pairs of fashion-forward shoes. In March, sales in the category declined by 50 percent in-store, according to the group’s consumer tracking service.

E-commerce sales, which have benefited from the lack of competition from physical stores, were down 15 percent as well.

“Many external reports are touting a ‘strong’ e-commerce business once major retailers closed their doors, but the caveat is that the definition of ‘strong sales’ has taken on a very different meaning in the current environment,” Beth Goldstein, NPD’s fashion footwear and accessories analyst, said in a statement.

The primary measure of success for brands and retailers is now market share, Goldstein said, an indication of a business’s place in the mind of consumers.

Online retail channels are also set to continue to increase their importance, Goldstein said, as the coronavirus quarantine continues.

 “We can expect that online penetration will become even higher, on account of a few factors,” Goldstein said. “In addition to April being a full month of quarantine and store closures, discounting and promotional activity accelerated quickly once retailers shut their doors, helping to drive sales.”

Some stores are deciding to open up as states begin to relax their quarantine protocols, she said. If this continues, summer styles may soon see an uptick in sales as the weather warms and consumers can more freely enjoy the outdoors again.

“More recently, we’ve also begun to see sales pick up for warmer weather styles,” Goldstein said. “Concerns over returning to stores also present potential for longer-term online shopping.”