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Mainstream Footwear Indicator, May 20 2016



Find out what’s selling now in mainstream footwear

Dr Martens

Dr Martens

Key points:

  • Hybrid styles are popular
  • Sales severely affected by unpredictable weather/late winter
  • Retailers remaining risk averse, but hopeful now that temperatures are more appropriate for the time of year

Jlh771 lettie black2

Lettie by Lunar

Julia Tarlton, Owner of Arthur Tarlton in Somercotes, Derbyshire

“People are definitely starting to get ready for the summer – we’ve almost sold out of Lettie, a smart, value block-heeled mule sandal by Lunar (£29.99), even though the weather is not yet right for open shoes. For more casual footwear, our older customers are looking to classic spring styles from DB Shoes’ Easy B range (£72). We currently don’t have a website but plan to build one soon to advertise our shop. We won’t move into internet retail – even our local postman has noticed a drop in deliveries recently. A lot of local businesses in the area are experiencing a quiet period – we don’t know if it’s economics or the weather. Even malls like Meadowhall in Sheffield are quieter than they used to be.”

Claire Jones, Assistant manager of Baker & Clark, Llandudno, Conwy

“Finally, we’re starting to see summer styles snapped up ready for warmer days with the metallic, glam FitFlop sandals taking centre stage (SuperGlitz slider, £55). The neutral Clarks style Un Loop (£64.99) is ever popular, as well as the entire Rieker range (averaging £55). Both local and internet trade on our website have been quiet – the recent snow kept people at home and they are waiting for warmer weather before making a commitment to new footwear. We expect things to improve, buoyed by higher temperatures and our recent bank holiday Sale, which focused on clearing stock of last year’s FitFlops.”

Hannah Holmes, Owner of Room for Shoes in Loughborough

“Now is the time when we expect optimistic holidaymakers to start picking up trusted summer footwear brands. For those staying at home, sales are split almost equally between ladies’ and men’s styles. Women are opting for Rieker’s transitional Mary Janes with punch detailing (£57), and gentlemen are picking up Padders’ Solar and Dash styles (from £65). Hybrid styles are definitely moving the fastest, as customers remain cautious of the British weather, but we’d expect to see more sandal sales by now. However, the Rockabilly-nodding Ruby Shoo, especially the Poppy range (£45) is a popular statement for non-weather-dependent events, especially with matching handbags. We’ve only been open a few months, but our ecommerce website is almost finished. We’re expecting some events to increase town centre footfall: the Classic and Vintage Vehicle Festi locally this month, and the Queen’s 90th birthday party, should really give us a boost.”

Josef Seibel

Josef Seibel

Linda Field, Co-owner at Broadland Shoes in Stalham, Norfolk

“We recently expanded our range for spring, stocking full shoes by Josef Seibel (£60), which has already become one of our top-selling brands. Rieker’s neutral and classic designs are popular with our customers, who are increasingly swapping courts for the ease of softer, flat styles; people around this rural area prefer their comfortable footwear. Our sales are very weather dependent, as we are not located on a busy high street and we’ve been affected by the winter. Now it’s finally getting warmer, Waldläufer sandals (£70) and open-toed shoes are in favour with more customers than those heading abroad for some sunshine.”

Charles Smith, Co-owner of Hilary Smith the Shoe Shop in Albrighton, near Wolverhampton 

“Beige is surprisingly more popular than summery pink when it comes to Remonte’s Mary Janes (£69), with Padders’ smart-yet-functional slip-on Jade (£65) a popular style to keep all-day feet standing strong. Cefalu’s spring and summer ranges (around £75) are also gaining in popularity now that winter is finally over. Shoe sales are still focused around hybrid styles rather than summery looks with sandals yet to start shifting. In this area there’s always an event on, such as a craft fair or the upcoming Albrighton Fair. They always bring more customers into our store. We recently added a small selection of timeless, classic John White shoes (rubber soled, £89, leather soled, £119) and look forward to seeing how they perform.



Sheila Barry, General manager and buyer at Donaghys in Banbridge, County Down

“Our customers are snapping up all colours of Skechers’ GOwalk 3 (£57). Ruby Shoo is also selling well, and the Anna and Cindy styles are our most popular (£45-£50) with coordinating handbags for less casual occasions. We’ve had a tough three months with sales of seasonal items lower than expected, but very recently we saw consumers start to buy wedges – puddle-proof summerwear. Neutral beige and navy tones are the biggest hits with our clientele, such as Rieker’s low-heeled T-bar in tan (£57). Anything in tan has been really strong this spring. Over the bank holiday, our 20%-off promotion was really well received, as was our locally organised fashion show involving local business partners and an event at the town hall. Our social media presence and mailing list really benefit from this kind of thing – they enable us to grow relationships with new and returning customers.”

Stephen Westwood, General manager at Arnouts Family Shoes, Manchester

“Trade is always weather dependent for us and customers are buying shoes for all seasons in one day. Our current bestsellers, moving into spring, are Petunia from Gabor (£65) and Waldläufers Hennie style (£70), but Rieker’s Kendra smart ankle boots (£65) are still proving very popular. Our winter Sale finished in Easter. We’re sticking to tried-and-tested brands that our clientele prefer instead of trying anything new or spreading ourselves too thinly, what with us not being as busy as usual. Online sales via our website have been picking up when we advertise but it’s not significant enough to really make a difference to our numbers.”

Dr Martens Patricia

Dr Martens Patricia

Dr Martens Patricia

Peter Brassington, Owner of Brassington Bros, Stoke-on-Trent

“As a traditional, family-owned shoe shop, selling trainers is unusual for us, but Skechers’ GOwalk (£44.99) is doing well, as is the cheaper Lunar FLK011 Riptide elasticated shoe (£24.99). Everyone is still raving about Dr Martens’ Patricia (£79.99), which is a popular spring choice. All our spring/summer range is out now, and sunny days are bringing people into a busier store. It’s been hard work this year and for our last Sale in February we offered discounts of up to £50, as we tried to tempt those being careful with their money. Selling shoes online is an additional responsibility but it does bring in sales.”



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