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Shoe sales gain solid footing in '07


PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Total U.S. footwear sales, which include both fashion and athletic footwear, increased 2% over 2006 to $44.4 billion, The NPD Group reported today. By segment, women's and children's footwear each saw a 3% gain over 2006, while sales in men's footwear remained flat.

Some may see this 2% as minor growth but considering it comes on the heels of 10% growth in 2005 and 5% in 2006, its encouraging that the industry continues to find more business, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, adding, This past year has had more challenges than most, yet the industry fared well overall. Not all fashion categories can say that.

According to Cohen, athletic footwear with a fashion focus was a top performer, with leisure/low performance shoes posting an 11% growth rate for 2007. Skateboard shoes performed even better with a 34% growth rate. Skateboard shoes are still a small share of the overall athletic footwear market, just under 8%, but from what consumers tell me, the crossover application of street and skate continue to drive the youth trends in footwear, and that will likely continue for most of 2008, said Cohen.

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