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Report: Immigration Fears Hurt Hispanic Spending

U.S. Hispanics are changing their shopping behaviors and athletic footwear brands like Nike, Skechers and Vans may take a big hit.

A recent report by Reuters indicated that some Hispanic consumers are scaling back on shopping, reportedly only leaving their homes to buy essential household items. With the looming possibility of harassment by immigration or law enforcement officials since the election of Donald Trump, many shoppers have been staying home.

“People are squirreling money away and don’t want to leave their houses to go to stores,” Eric Rodriguez, a representative from the Latino advocacy group UnidosUS, told Reuters. “They’re afraid local law enforcement or immigration officials are going to harass or embarrass them.”

Hispanic consumers make up 20 percent of the footwear market in the U.S., according to Beth Goldstein, NPD Group executive director, industry analyst of accessories and footwear. However, at a seminar in Las Vegas earlier this month, Goldstein reported that Hispanic markets, including New York City and San Antonio are struggling, while smaller Hispanic markets like Harlingen, Texas, which saw a 9 percent drop in sales, are driving the steepest declines.

Retailers and brands are aware of the down-slide. Last month at a conference in Aspen, Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell referenced a report by NPD that indicated a decline in discretionary spending by Hispanics, particularly around border towns in the U.S.

According to NPD, footwear and apparel are expected to be the be hit the hardest if Hispanic consumers continue to cut back their discretionary spending.

NPD Chief Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen told Reuters the 2017 back-to-school season is a “good litmus test of how the holiday season is going to shake out.”

Cohen pointed out that this year’s back-to-school footwear sales are seeing a double-digit decline, compared with a double-digit increase last year. “That’s how powerful certain segments are, certainly the Hispanic market,” Cohen said.

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