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Steve Madden, Kate Spade Among 8 Fastest Growing Retailers in 2015

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Retail sales have been slow growing this year, but consumers are starting to spend more, albeit cautiously, and some retailers are getting a bigger share of that spend than others.

To find out which retailers were commanding those dollars, Forbes surveyed U.S. apparel and footwear companies with a minimum $1 billion market value, ranking them based on average same-store sales growth for the first half of the year.

Steve Madden topped the list with a 15.1% of average same-store sales growth, and the outlook for the fashion footwear retailer is solid. Analysts expect the company’s store performance will yield growth in wholesale orders next year and the stronger dollar could mean the brand can make better quality footwear in countries known for first-rate footwear, like Brazil and Italy.

For the second quarter, Steve Madden delivered better-than-expected sales and earnings results, which CEO Edward Rosenfeld attributed to “outstanding performance” in the retail segment. Net sales were up 9.4% to $323.6 million and growth in comparable store sales was 18.5%.

Consumers must be keen on shoes this year—the second-rated retailer on the list, Skechers, had an 11.1% same stores sales growth in the half. Investment research firm Zack’s rates the retailer a strong buy and calls it a great growth stock as its projected earnings per share growth rate is 77.59%, far outpacing the industry average of 11.81%.

“Skechers USA stock is a potential outperformer that is an impressive choice for growth investors, making it a security that you need to keep on your radar in the near term,” Zack’s analysts noted.

Kate Spade came in at No. 3 with same-store sales growth of 9.3%. Oliver Chen, managing director at Cowen & Company told Forbes, “Kate’s lifestyle branding lends itself to growth in home décor, bridal, etc. outside handbag category,” adding that the brand’s e-commerce penetration is higher than its peers.

Foot Locker was next on the list with first half same-store sales growth of 8.7%, and its Lady Foot Locker chain has helped fuel the growth, posting five consecutive quarters of gains.

Express’ turnaround efforts have not been in vain, the apparel retailer posted 7 percent growth and business is expected to do well in the second half too.

Genesco, which operates Johnston & Murphy and Journeys, saw 5.5% same-store sales growth, as did TJX Companies, which ranked seventh. Apparel company Oxford Industries, owner of the Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama lifestyle brands, rounded out the list with 5.5% growth.

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