3 Retailers Answer 3 of our Burning Questions.
1. What is selling best in your store right now?
“We have seen a big spike in sandals. Many people put off buying sandals last year and now we are seeing them buy multiple pairs this year. We also continue to see great sales in any footwear related to outdoor activities; running, walking, hiking, travel, et cetera.” – Bryce Anderson, Walking Comfort, Utah
“New Balance running, Chaco and Aetrex sandals. Any footwear for the outdoors! I find people are getting back to traveling for vacations even if just to the beach.” – Brenda Felger, Felger’s Footwear, Louisiana
“Shoes are still our majority seller (71%) with Brooks and Hoka combining for [more than 50%]. Brooks has had great inventory so when other brands had inventory issues, we just order more Brooks to keep our shelves stocked. And Hoka is ‘hot-hot-hot’ right now. In June, we saw 12% growth in the accessory category as customers were coming in for more than just shoes. We sold more insoles and socks than June 2020, but also saw growth in compression, electronics, hats, nutrition (+25%) and sunglasses (+22%). It’s definitely good to have in-person races back on the calendar. Electronic massage has also been hot as we’ve been selling a lot of Hypervolt GOs and even a few Normatec leg systems.” – Steph Blozy, Fleet Feet West Hartford, Connecticut
2. What are your expectations for the rest of 2021?
“Definitely optimistic! June was strong but still slightly less than 2019, but July is shaping up to be a blowout. I have a strong school uniform business and with schools going back to in classroom instruction, this part of my business is trending up over even 2019.” – Brenda Felger, Felger’s Footwear
“We are very optimistic about our business. We feel like people want to be out and about. They want to shop in person, try on footwear and interact with others. Unless there is a setback with the pandemic, we see our business only continuing to improve over the next 6-12 months.” – Bryce Anderson, Walking Comfort
“For the rest of 2021, our goal is to beat 2020 comps as we hope and believe that the back-to-school / cross country / in-person racing season will funnel more customers into our door than last year when there really were no BTS/XC/races. That said, 2020 numbers were fairly strong as we emerged from the shut-down and people had stimulus checks to spend and pent-up demand.” – Steph Blozy, Fleet Feet West Hartford
3. How are supply chain issues impacting you and how are you navigating through that?
“The supply chain issue could negatively affect the final numbers for July and August, but I had the foresight to take in much of my product for my Back-to-School season early. Getting through those supply chain issues with New Balance has been less than acceptable; product is simply not available.” – Brenda Felger, Felger’s Footwear
“For the most part we have great vendors. The vendors that can’t keep up are giving space to those that can. And we are making plans for the future related to the brands that prioritize our business versus those that prioritize their DTC business. We have a few brands that we will be trimming up to 75% due to their focus on their DTC business.” – Bryce Anderson, Walking Comfort
“Supply chain issues are definitely posing a challenge this year. But my buyer — my sister Carrie — has been working super-hard to snag inventory as soon as it becomes available on the b2b — especially getting shoes canceled by other stores and ordering product that has freshly arrived in vendor warehouses — sometimes beating our first future order of new product. She’s done an incredible job keeping our shelves stocked, but it has led to a few brands becoming a little more dominant than we’d like. But, then again, those two brands — Brooks and Hoka — are well loved by customers so the customers leave happy, which makes us happy too.” – Steph Blozy, Fleet Feet West Hartford