Market Overview

NPD Group: Vans A Winner In Weak Back-To-School Season

NPD Group: Vans A Winner In Weak Back-To-School Season

The sales data more than halfway through the 2018 back-to-school season has been disappointing, according to a report from retail sales tracker NPD Group. 

From June 3 through July 28, sales of athletic footwear in the U.S. were essentially flat year-over-year, said NPD analyst Matt Powell.

Sport lifestyle, one of the most popular categories, grew in the mid-single digits, but is starting to slow due to weakness in retro basketball, he said. 

Performance as fashion does not appear to be coming back anytime soon.

Despite new initiatives that are emerging in the category, performance running, performance basketball and training and hiking footwear all saw sales declines, according to NPD. 

Hot Sellers

Sport slides continue to be a popular seller, with sales up in the low teens. VF Corp (NYSE: VFC) is red-hot, as the skate shoes category grew by nearly 50 percent over the period.

Powell said he expected Vans to be a hot brand this season.

"Vans overall sales grew by more than three quarters during these weeks," he said. 

In the last 12 months, the size of Vans’ in-store customer base has held steady, but customers are making more purchases, Powell said. The proportion of in-store Vans buyers who have purchased two or more pairs has increased by nearly 20 percent year-over-year, he said.

Other Hot Brands

Fila and Puma continue to post sales increases, reaffirming the notion that small brands are experiencing a renaissance.

Brooks improved sales by a third, the Nike Inc (NYSE: NKEbrand grew in the low single digits and competitor adidas AG (ADR) (OTC: ADDYY) grew in the mid-teens and continues to take share in the U.S. despite reports that suggest otherwise.

This back-to-school season is likely to be as promotional as last year's, putting pressure on margins, Powell said. Any energy in athletic footwear will come from the smaller brands, he said. 

“I also expect e-commerce to outpace sales growth in physical stores, as online becomes more and more important to the total.”

Related Links:

Exclusive: Adidas President Mark King Discusses Being At The Intersection Of Performance And Fashion

Nike's Product Line Is Tipping In A Positive Direction, According To Foot Locker

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Wikimedia. 

Posted-In: Apparel e-commerce Footwear Matt Powell NPD Group retailNews Retail Sales Best of Benzinga


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