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Footwear’s deep imprint on fashion

Caroline Nodder

Welcome to our final spring 12 special, Footwear & Accessories.

Welcome to our final spring 12 special, Footwear & Accessories. It may be last, but it is far from least, since the category has played a very important role in the fashion business over the past few years when other categories have suffered as a result of the financial downturn.

Where consumers may have tightened their belts – no pun intended – in other areas, their wardrobes have continued to be updated with new shoes, handbags and, indeed, belts. In fact, the category has grown so much in importance for many high street retailers, and indeed indies, that they have moved it to the front of their store so it entices shoppers through the doors.

The luxury sector – notably Selfridges – has also invested in the category with stunning refurbishments of departments to showcase the huge range and variety available to customers, which reflects the fact that consumers are still willing to invest in quality. And certainly the etail market has got in on the act with any number of footwear and accessories-only etailers – most recently ShoeDazzle for example – launching in the UK.

There is also interest in the UK high street this year from foreign investors, with Jones Bootmaker sold to Dutch retail conglomerate Macintosh Retail Group, premium footwear retailer Kurt Geiger bought by US retail giant Jones Group and branded footwear retailer Schuh snapped up by US footwear group Genesco. This week, we spoke to Tony Linford of The Florida Group, parent company of British footwear brand Van Dal, about the changes on the high street among other things.

The trend report contains good news for many retailers, as the key trends for spring 12 are striking, bold and colourful – sure to stand out at the front of stores, and a sufficient move on from spring 11 to encourage shoppers to update their wardrobes. 

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