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Report: Sport Footwear Sales Slowed by Sluggish Running Category

July 2015 was the hottest month globally on record, but consumers didn’t take refuge from the heat by shoe shopping. In a report by Sport Industry Analyst Matt Powell, The NPD Group reported sport footwear sales for July were slightly off the year-to-date trend. Results were determined by POS data compiled from athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain store and department store channels.

Athletic footwear sales experienced mid-single digit gains, however units dipped in the low single digits. Meanwhile, the average selling price grew in the high single digits, The NPD Group reported.

Hiking, training and classics were drivers in the men’s category, which saw high single digit growth. The category saw gains in classic running, which was up more than double year-over-year. Despite a dip in running, women’s athletic footwear increased in the mid-single digits. Gains in classic running, hiking and casual athletic footwear balanced the loss. Children’s saw more interest in classics than in basketball and running. The category’s sales increased in the low single digits.

Overall, technical running continued to be a hard sale. The NPD Group reported that the category was down in the low single digits in July, and running brands felt the effects. Despite a lively retro running business, a trend that blankets the sport footwear sector, Asics’ declining technical running sales drove the company sales down. Similarly, New Balance’s strong retro running sales could not offset a weak running business. The brand saw sales drop in the high single digits. Brooks and Saucony experienced mid-single digit declines. Adidas running sales were also in the red.

Under Armour’s running business was an outlier, with sales up in the low teens. The company’s basketball business also grew ten-fold, according to The NPD Group. The uptick was notable during a month that saw just slight gains in the basketball category due to the later back-to-school shopping season. Basketball’s biggest player, Nike Basketball, declined in July, however the loss didn’t damper Nike’s overall sales. Nike/Jordan had a strong July with sales up in the high single digits.

Skechers’ sport shoe sales increased in the low-teens, and the company remained at the top of the walking shoe category. The NPD Group said the company’s walking shoe business more than doubled in July. Skechers also nabbed a share of the cross training business from Nike and New Balance. The company’s training business increased about 25 percent for the month.