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Report: Change in Footwear Spending Sends Warning Signs for Retailers

While the apparel industry continues to grow, and despite last year’s increase in footwear and accessories sales, the NPD Group now reports that the footwear and fashion accessories sectors will see overall sales even with last year’s results.

Footwear saw a 1 percent decline to $65 billion in the year ending in February 2017, mostly due to in-store losses. Fashion accessories sales dropped 7 percent to $51 billion during the same period, both online and in-store.

NPD also found that while consumers are spending less, they are also buying fewer items. However, millennials continue to play a favorable roll in the market with increased spending on footwear, fashion accessories and apparel.

“The losses happening within footwear and fashion accessories are leading indicators of the fundamental changes occurring within the whole of fashion at retail,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Consumers tend to build their wardrobes through accessories and footwear, giving their outfit a fresh look, so when sales of either of these industries slow or decline it signals a decline in fashion as a priority.”

Athleisure continues to be a success in footwear. However, the fashion segment, which represents more than 40 percent of yearly footwear sales, decreased 6 percent in the last year.

“The active influences that drove apparel did not impact the total accessories and footwear businesses in the same way – while fashion athletic and retro sneakers worked well, consumers continued to be presented with the same non-athletic inspired fashion footwear and bags,” said Cohen. “The overall scope of today’s fashion innovation needs to reach beyond one audience or one set of consumer demands, but also be prepared to move with new influences as they take shape.”