Back to School, Back to Footwear?

We are beginning to see positive back to school trends develop within the sports apparel and athletic footwear data.  Footwear sales picked up measurably, breaking into positive growth territory for the first time in 17 weeks with a 4.9% increase.  Along with total sales, ASP’s improved sequentially from -4% to -3%. 

Total sports apparel sales fell 2.4% for the week as the Family Retail channel ended a 3 week run of positive trends.   This decline more than offset the improvement in the Sport Retail channel.  While the total industry experienced a slight decrease is sales for the week, ASPs grew 10% driven by dramatically higher prices in the Discount/Mass channel.  The West Coast continued to outperform the national trend for sports apparel with a positive high single digit increase. The East Coast declined in the mid to high single digits.   

Two interesting points pertaining to early Back to School can be pulled out of this week’s data: 1) price stabilization and 2) a notable sequential pick up in footwear (with a delta far greater than the build we saw last year at this time).

If you follow the table below, the last 3 week’s ASP trend has been very consistent for both footwear and apparel.  The overall trend while still slightly negative for footwear appears to be stable as we are now over one week into the key selling season.  While it is still early, this supports anecdotal evidence that the promotional environment remains unchanged at this time.  The current trend is in stark contrast to last year, where ASP’s were showing substantial increases and then decelerated sharply as back to school progressed. 

Footwear dollar sales had a very dramatic sequential delta from down high single to low double digits (which was a trend over the last 5 weeks) to +5% this week.  This uptick clearly marks the presence of BTS.  Interestingly, when we look at the back to school ramp last year we do not see anything as dramatic.  Over a similar period in 2008,  sales jumped from down -2% to +4%.  Again, it is still too early to declare a victory for the season, but the delta in sales cadence is notable as tax holidays and back to school marketing campaigns have kicked in.

Back to School, Back to Footwear? - BTS table

 

Back to School, Back to Footwear? - footwear and apparel dollar chart

 

Back to School, Back to Footwear? - ASP chart sports apparel

 

Back to School, Back to Footwear? - Sports Apparel channel table