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Specialty Footwear Sales Continue to Slow

Shoe store sales are in a slump, according to the latest data released this morning by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Total sales at footwear retailers increased by less than 2 percent on a 12-month smoothed basis in August, to an adjusted $2.8 billion, down slightly from July but 2 percent above last August.

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 pricer retailers like DSW.