World Footwear

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German high street retailers with declining footwear sales

Feb 29, 2016 Germany
German high street retailers with declining footwear sales
According to the BDSE, the German Footwear Retailers' Association, last year was marked by a decrease in sales. Too mild temperatures in the winter months were pointed out
Although consumer sentiment was very positive in Germany during the year, the unsatisfactory development of retail sales started in the first six months with a 1.5% decline in sales and was followed by an equally disappointing second half of the year. At the end of December, after a weak Christmas season, high street footwear retailers faced sales decline of around 1%, according to their association. The same source indicates that SMEs recorded a drop of 2% in sales, while bigger companies managed to perform slightly better.

According to the BDSE, high street retailers, accounting for roughly two thirds of all footwear sales, achieved total sales of 8.3 billion euros (including VAT). The remaining one third of the market includes department stores, mail order companies, sports retailers, supermarkets and online. In total, the footwear retail trade sold around 11.7 billion euros worth of footwear.

Women’s footwear sold at an average of 64.50 euros, men’s footwear at 75.30 euros ad children’s at 46 euros.

Initial figures from the BDSE also indicate that in 2015 online footwear sales experienced growth of roughly 7%. Although this is still a very positive growth figure, it is quite moderate if compared with the two-digit rates from previous years.

Mild temperatures registered in the winter months were pointed as one of the major reasons for such performance of the high-street retail in Germany. A growing digitalisation of information and purchasing patterns among consumers are posing additional challenges to retailers. As the rate of change is enormous, SMS in particular, have to invest in considerable efforts to respond quickly to competitors and consumers. Vertical integration in clothing chains, now betting in footwear as well, is another element to bear in mind. 

The Federal Association of the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry (HDS/L) is also cautious about the outlook for the industry despite the positive footwear sales in Germany. According to the HDS/L, from January to November 2015, the German shoe industry achieved sales of roughly 2.4 billion euros, a 0.9% increase compared to similar period in 2014. A slight increase, but a clear weakening of the performance if compared to a 9% growth rate registered for the entire year of 2014.

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