“Word on the street is that back-to-school 2016 has been soft for the industry, and the data confirms that,” said NPD Group Vice President Matt Powell. “My expectation is that September will show the strongest growth of the back-to-school period.”
The biggest drop was seen in the women’s footwear category, where sales fell 5 percent year-over-year in August, although classic footwear styles were a bright spot, up by half, while ladies running shoes also experienced a low single-digit gain.
Men’s classics were also up for the month, although gains in the category were offset by losses in the struggling basketball category, leaving men’s athletic footwear sales largely flat for the month.
As a whole, running shoe sales were flat for August, with most gains for athletic brands coming from their casual athletic categories, which saw a healthy 5 percent bump during the month, lead by Adidas, Converse and Skechers. Under Armour and Nike, meanwhile, reported flat and declining sales respectively for their running shoes.
Hiking footwear, meanwhile, was another growth category, up 4 percent for the month, although potential larger gains were hampered by a lack of new product during the summer months.