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Checking In

Three retailers answer three key questions about what’s selling, what’s next, and how they are navigating supply chain issues.

Straight Talk

Chiappetta Shoes, entering its centennial anniversary year, has a CEO in Anthony Chiappetta who is forward-thinking, optimistic yet refreshingly blunt about the present and future of U.S. independent shoe retailers.

The Comeback

After a rollercoaster of a year, retailers planning for 2021 face a daunting challenge. After unprecedented business challenges and new hurdles to navigate seemingly daily, there’s no roadmap for envisioning the shape of the year to follow. The good news: Run shops see opportunity ahead.

Earlier Consumer Demand, Delivery Capacity Among Key Holiday Trends

With e-commerce estimated to account for a record 30 percent of all Holiday 2020 sales, according to the Statista/Salesforce Shopping Index, footwear retailers should be prepared for a handful of key emerging trends.

What’s Working Now

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sea change in the retail landscape, altering not only what consumers buy but also when and how they buy it. It’s also changed every aspect of how stores run their business, from buying shoes to building community.

Shifting Purchase Priorities Will Impact Sales for Back-to-School

Fluid U.S. back-to-school plans, many of which will include at least partial remote learning due to impacts from COVID-19, are expected to have a negative impact on seasonal apparel and accessory purchases despite a forecast that overall spending could reach record levels.

In The News: Big 5 Sporting Goods, Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs & More

Big 5 Sporting Goods, scheduled to report second quarter results by July 31, says comparable-store sales declined 4.2 percent for the period ended June 28. Merchandise margins rose 175 basis points year-over-year due to improvements in May and June.

Shop Talk

We caught four recent episodes of the ongoing NRF series that featured Marvin Ellison, Brian Cornell, Hal Lawton, and Chris Nassetta. Here’s an edited version of what they had to say about challenges faced in the early days of the pandemic, customer trends, and changes made with...

Athleisure Styles, Closeouts Rising at DSW

DSW, the banner owned by publicly traded Designer Brands, essentially became a dotcom-only retailer on March 18 due to COVID-19. But the firm expects to have all of its 1,000+ North American locations open by June 30, and as of last week, 90 percent of doors were open for business.

In the News: Oofos, Dick’s Sporting Goods & More

Boston-based Oofos has signed a strategic partnership with NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. The former defensive back and return specialist will serve on Oofos’ advisory panel and will introduce the brand to other athletes. Oofos will be Sanders’ exclusive provider of recovery products.

Cautious Optimism After May Retail Sales Report

Pent-up demand from two months of shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a 17.7 percent seasonally adjusted increase in retail sales from April, when they were off 14.7 percent from March. But overall May sales were down 6.1 percent year-over-year, with some categories...

Reopened Journeys Experiences Regional Differences

As of yesterday, more than 900 Journeys stores had reopened across the U.S. While traffic hasbeen down double-digits versus the year-ago period, parent Genesco says the business has been able to offset the traffic headwind through...

Running Renaissance May Lift Dick’s Annual Footwear Sales Over $2 Billion Mark

Senior management at Dick’s Sporting Goods isn't committing to a $2 billion annual footwear sales possibility when asked, but the retailer confirmed momentum in the segment bolstered by growing consumer interest in both running and walking amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earnings Report: Retailers See Casual Athletic On Top

Menomonee Falls, WI-based Kohl’s is exiting eight women’s private apparel brands this year but says it remains committed to growing the active category, pointing out that it has doubled the segment’s sales since 2013.

Foot Locker Merging Champs Sports, Eastbay; Wall Street Mixed on Retailer

Eastbay’s longtime operation in Wausau, WI, is being shuttered in July with as many as 187 layoffs as Foot Locker combines Champs Sports and Eastbay under a single leadership team based in Bradenton, FL. Foot Locker confirmed the restructuring during its first-quarter earnings call last week.

BSN Sports Acquires Wayne Sporting Goods in Pennsylvania

In the news once again this issue, BSN Sports last week acquired the team sports business of Wayne Sporting Goods (WSG), based in Wayne, PA. WSG has been serving team sports customers in the Philadelphia area for 64 years.

Running On: Part II

Josh Levinson, owner and founder of the seven-door Maryland-based Charm City Run chain, says he has been amazed by the “support local” efforts in his run communities.

Running On: Part I

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated shutdowns have sent a shockwave through the retail world — and the world, period. With no roadmap to follow, run shops across America have been adapting on the fly, trying to keep the lights on and planning for an uncertain future.

Managing Product Integrity and Quality

Supply chain and movement of inventory both old and new are two topics garnering additional attention in the COVID-19 era, according to Quality Corrections & Inspections, a high-volume rework firm which has operations in Duncansville, PA, and Henderson, NV.

Shoe Carnival Begins Re-Opening Stores

Publicly traded, 390-door chain Shoe Carnival reopened 122 stores on May 1 in locations where states and local officials relaxed or canceled stay-at-home orders, and another 62 doors on May 4.

Modell’s Likely to Go Dark on NYC Landscape

“Gotta Go to Mo’s” is a phrase that may continue to ring true in New York City, but consumers will have far fewer places to head for their apparel and licensed garb, according to bankruptcy court documents filed in early March.

COVID-19: Retail — and the World — on Lockdown

Given the global pandemic’s fluid severity depending on U.S. state and country, it’s hard to measure the virus’ eventual aggregate negative impact on trade until it runs its course.

Dick’s Ongoing Transformation Will Mean More Premium Footwear

The go-forward strategy for Pittsburgh-based Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest full-line sporting goods retailer, will focus on women athletes, team sports, golf, private label offerings and a stronger “Buy Online, Pick-up in Store” (BOPIS) platform — and much less on hunting.

Foot Locker Spends on Supply Chain, Logistics But Could Face Pitfalls

Wall Street circles are cautious about the retailer’s FY20 outlook calling for a low-single-digit comparable sales improvement and continued supply chain investments, citing possible product delivery delays this year fueled by the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

DSW Wants Larger Role in Footwear Universe

DSW’s decision last week to team with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), on the acquisition of the operations and intellectual property rights of the 17-year-old Camuto Group in a $375 million deal slated to close in Q4, is part of a broader strategy to expand its reach in footwear with both...

10 Ways to Crush Customer Service from the Stores That Do It Best

In the four years Footwear Insight has presented the Gold Medal Service Awards, only 13 retailers have made the cut every year. These service all-stars know exactly what it takes to delight the consumer, and even more importantly, how to keep doing it day after day and year after year.

Looking Ahead

On Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA’s downtown thoroughfare, there are plenty of reminders of the past. The right side of the street is lined with a small deli, a three-screen theater, and the 85-year old Theatre Pharmacy. It’s also the home of Michelson’s Shoes, a fourth-generation...

The Euro Scene: Munich

In Munich you don’t have to venture far to find the great outdoors. A cluster of top-notch sports shops dot the Old Town district of the city, a hugely popular pedestrian shopping destination centered by Munich’s historic clock tower in the area known as Marienplatz.

Hot Topics 2020

What Retailers Are Excited About: The in-store experience, brand collaboration, sustainability and more…“I am really excited for some of the cool experiential collaborations that we are doing with a few of our key brands..."

Retail Refreshed

From Portland, Oregon to Princeton, New Jersey and from Manhattan to Munich, brick-and mortar-storeowners are re-thinking how to attract and engage today’s shoppers.

Listen & Learn

The rise of online consumer reviews over the last decade makes it vitally important that retailers today pay attention and respond to the language of their most ardent customers. Through careful analysis of customer comments, retailers, and brands for that matter, should be able to craft...

Covering the Bases

The fifth-generation owners of Beck’s Shoes have four rules for selling the industrial work market: Cover all the bases; make the process seamless; emphasize the after-market with socks and insoles, and take employers out of the shoe business.

Whistle While You Work

There’s more than one way to work, and for nearly a quarter century Whistle Workwear has grown its business by stocking the right product for all the different industries that call the Pacific Northwest area home.

Eneslow at 110

Eneslow, New York’s iconic retail shoe and pedorthic/orthotic center, is celebrating its 110th birthday in a grand way: It’s opening another retail store.

Quintessential Quoddy

Quoddy has been hand-stitching shoes in Lewiston, ME, since 1909, but its heritage shoes are hotter than ever. The brand has a thriving DTC business online, as well as distribution in some of the world’s most fashion-forward boutiques, including Matches Fashion, SHIPS Japan and Mr. Porter.

Inside Nike’s House of Innovation

In mid-November, Nike opened up a new flagship in NYC on Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street. The store is called “House of Innovation 000.” We stopped by to see what’s inside.

Meet 4 Stores with Top Scores in our Gold Medal Service Awards

Footwear Insight launched the Gold Medal Service Awards in 2015 in order to identify – and reward – independent stores that elevate service to an art form. The good news is we found them — and they are thriving. This year, more than 120 shops were nominated by themselves or their vendor partners.

10 Ways to Crush Customer Service from the Stores That Do It Best

In the four years Footwear Insight has presented the Gold Medal Service Awards, only 13 retailers have made the cut every year. These service all-stars know exactly what it takes to delight the consumer, and even more importantly, how to keep doing it day after day and year after year.

REI Enters Publishing; Best Buy Enters Connected Fitness

The national, outdoor co-operative is abandoning its full-price mail order catalog to launch its own print magazine, Uncommon Path, this fall on select U.S. newsstands and all 155 of its stores.

Heritage Holds On

Heritage is a term that can conjure many meanings – authenticity, quality and nostalgia. Separately, it can also signify old items and things that are out of touch.

Technically Speaking

These Fall/Winter 2019 technical jackets check all the boxes: There are standouts in eco, tech and thoughtful design.

Naperville Running Opens New Concept Shop The Annex, Targets a New Category of Shopper

Do runners want the same thrill of the bargain hunt that shoppers find at stores like TJ Maxx or Marshalls? Kris Hartner thinks they might...