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U.S. Shoe Store Employment Declines as Price Drops Weigh on Outlooks

June wasn’t such a hot month for footwear retailers or employees, according to new data released by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).

After several months of gains at the start of the year, retail prices for footwear backpedaled in June, paving the way for another year of only modest price increases for retailers.

Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FDRA reported that footwear prices sank 0.9% in June, the first decline since December of last year. Kids footwear saw the most dramatic declines, with a 1.1% drop in boy’s and girl’s styles. June marked the ninth time in the last ten months that price changes have underperformed the rate of overall inflation, evidence of tighter margins for shoe retailers.

Footwear prices are expected to rise for the remainder of the year, albeit “modestly at best,” the FDRA said in its assessment.

Shoe stores across the country, meanwhile, continue to shed workers. Citing BLS and U.S. census data, the report revealed that employment in domestic shoe stores declined to a seasonally-adjusted 210,000 workers in May, the first year-over-year decline since 2012.

The report remained optimistic, however, stating that while employment in the footwear sector has softened, U.S. shoe store sales are up for the ninth straight month.