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Improving Market Trends Highlight Latest FDRA Business Survey

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Three key market metrics — outlook for the U.S. economy over the next six months; outlook for shoe shoppers over the next six months; and company health over the next six months — each posted quarterly improvement in the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) Q2 Shoe Business Outlook Survey. Meanwhile, the shoe industry’s hiring outlook is decidedly more bullish today than it was in Q1 with 81 percent of respondents expecting to boost hiring over the next six months versus 41 percent in the last survey.

But the latest FDRA survey, which features input from the industry's top execs, providing their insights for the coming weeks and months ahead, does reflect potential headwinds for the footwear industry as it aims to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate growth into 2022 and beyond. A whopping 83 percent of respondents told the trade group that they expect landed costs to rise over the next six months, and 73 percent are forecasting operating costs to continue rising throughout the remainder of 2021 as 61 percent have already experienced higher expenses. Meanwhile, 59 percent told the FDRA that they expect retail footwear prices to increase during the second half of 2021.

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