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Shoe Stores Hold Their Own in September

Shoe store sales are starting to come out of their slump, according to the latest data released this morning by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Total sales at footwear retailers increased by 2.6% on a 12-month smoothed basis in September, to an adjusted $2.8 billion, down slightly from July but 3 percent above last September.

Specialty shoe retailers have seen growth slow dramatically from the heady levels of late 2013 and early 2014 as more department, discount and pure-play e-commerce retailers have gotten into the footwear space, and as the athleisure trend has flooded the market with less-expensive athletic footwear styles.

In addition, downsizing and consolidation among independent and small chains of footwear stores have resulted in a smaller market share for the channel, more than compensating for the growth in off price and big box retailers like DSW and for pure-play e-commerce merchants like Zappos.