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Mainstream Footwear Indicator, August 22 2015

Find out what’s selling now in the world of mainstream footwear.

Womenswear

Stephen Walker, owner of Exelby Shoes of Harrogate, North Yorkshire

“Summer sandals from Rieker (£55), Remonte (£60) and Waldläufer (£60) have proved popular. However, this summer’s bad weather has put us 5% down on last year and, therefore, we’re holding back on selling our autumn 15 range until our summer Sale stock has shifted. Our Sale started on the second week of July, offering 20% discount, which we have now increased to 50%.”

Alice Stephenson, owner of Howorth’s Shoes in Bedford

Legero lace up shoes (£70) are our current bestseller, along with sandals from Josef Seibel (£55) and Rieker (£60). Sales of Waldläufer’s ballet pumps (£75) have also helped keep us afloat in the recent climate, with summer sales in general being affected by poor weather. For autumn 15, I expect Legero Gore-Tex boots (£92), Rieker ankle boots (£60) and Waldläufer ankle boots (£92) will sell well.”

William Rogerson, owner of Thomas Rogerson & Sons in Peebles, Scottish Borders

“Our bestsellers are the summer casual sandals from Rieker (£55) and Ecco (£85), as well as Gabor pumps (£80). A cloudy summer has, however, hampered trade. Our summer Sale, which started in early July, will be ending soon as autumn 15 collection arrives in mid-September.”

Julia Tarlton, owner of J S Tarlton in Somercotes, Derbyshire

Boulevard flat sandals (Sale price £20) and Marco Tozzi’s wedge sandals (Sale price £20) are selling well in our half-price Sale, which started early July. Sales are down 20%-30% compared to summer 14, which we think is due to the bad weather. We’re also being affected by the dominance of online shopping and people in general having less disposable income. We’re trying to work with the weather and will be continuing our summer Sale until late August in order to catch the holiday-goers.”

Caroline French, owner of W. J. French & Son in Southampton

“Casual flat sandals from Rieker (£59) and Waldläufer (£70) are selling really strongly at the moment, as are Gabor’s ballet pumps (£80). Due to the cold weather this summer sandals didn’t sell so well at full price earlier in the season and now the weather has warmed we’ve had to put them on Sale.”

Janet Burridge, owner of Ridgways Shoes in Exeter, Devon

“The location of our store in Exeter city centre means we benefit from high footfall from tourists which has helped trade this summer. We’ve been adding to our Sale steadily, since we started discounting in June and we’ve started to put out pieces for autumn 15 because people are always interested in seeing fresh products. Our bestsellers are sandals from Rieker (£55), Ecco (£85) and Josef Seibel (£40). From our autumn 15 stock, lace-ups from Josef Seibel (£80) and Ecco (£85) are selling well.”

Menswear

Lynne Atkinson, manager of Hoad’s of Sevenoaks, Kent

“Casual styles from Timberland (£125) and Barbour (£100) have proven most popular. We’ve found our men’s footwear sales have really been affected by the weather. We went on Sale in the middle of June, offering up to 50% off. We started offering discounts at about the same time as last year, give or take a week.”

David Dillane, manager of David Anthony’s Shoes in South Woodford, London

“Our top brand this season is Clarks, in particular the Swift Turn and Swift Mile (£70) comfort shoes. Men’s footwear sales are poor at the moment and overall trade is worse than last year. I think men always cut back more than ladies and always leave shopping to the last minute. You see them come in and pick up their sandals the morning before they go on holiday. Our Sale began early June because the big guys like Clarks went on Sale and, as we stock them, we had to go on Sale too, three weeks earlier than normal. You have to follow or you get left behind.”

John Rutter, owner of E.H. Spencer in Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire

“This season, our bestsellers are summer sandals from Padders (£59.99), Clarks (£59.99) and Loake (£200).The Sale began around the second week of July, too early in my opinion, but I had to follow similar indies to us that sell Clarks and Hotter. You have to follow or you lose customers. It’s not a level playing field like it used to be because manufacturers have gone into retail so they can afford to sell it at half price or less as they’re still making margin.”

David Miller, manager of Spencer & Penn in Fareham, Hampshire

“Our best-performing brand is Padders (£65-£70). We’re currently on Sale, as part of which we’ve also been offering online discount vouchers or £10 off deals when you buy two pairs of Hotter shoes. The classic menswear shoes like Padders don’t go in the Sale as there’s always a demand, so we tend to try and stock these styles all year round. Trading is down on last year, which I think is due to the poor weather combined with an element of economic worry in people’s minds. The last brand we introduced was Red Tape for autumn 14 (£40), which is a slightly younger style for us.”

Claire Jones, assistant manager of Baker & Clark in Llandudno, Wales

Clarks (£59.99) and Rieker (£59.99) are our bestsellers. We went on Sale around mid-June. We’re a bit of a beach town so our tourist trade is really affected by the weather. If the weather’s nice naturally you sell more beach footwear. The newest brand we launched was Emu slippers for autumn 14 (£65).”

Richard Maddison, manager at Elliotts of Lymington in Lymington

“Our top brands are probably Barker (£200), Sebago (£115) and Timberland, especially its boat shoes (£110). Customers are quite accepting of new brands if they’re heard of them like Loake (added for autumn 14), which has a reputation for British heritage and good quality products. Adding new brands gives us a competitive edge as they mean we can offer something the others don’t.”

Sheila Barry, manager of Donaghys in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland

Skechers have made a big impact this season, in particular the Go Walk memory foam range (£57-£59). Men are picking up on that trend, coming in and asking specifically for it because they’re advertised heavily. On the dressier side, Clarks Ferro Step (£54.99) slip-on brogue is proving popular. Rieker has started to appeal to a wider age profile, I think because it has added more casual slip-on styles (£67). Here in Northern Ireland the weather has been bad so we aren’t selling high summer products like the UK mainland.”

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