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If there’s one category that is clearly resonating with consumers (i.e women) it’s boots.  For the first time in almost 5 years, the commentary surrounding fashion boots this early in the selling season has not been more positive.  To be fair, retailers started hinting at a possible trend beginning in late July, but the business really started to take off this past month and is setting up well for the remainder of the year.  While it is sometimes challenging to discern between general commentary on the category and specifics, one fact is clear.  The current trend is being driven primarily by women’s fashion boots while at the same time cold-weather/seasonal product is also off to a solid start. 

It’s too early to make a weather call on the entire season, but early sell through on functional cold weather product is a big positive for margins and ASP’s.  Ultimately a strong boot season should bode well for most that have material exposure to the category.  Importantly, boots carry higher ASP’s, which is especially meaningful when comping against last year’s aggressive promotional activity. 

For better perspective on what the boot category has meant historically, we took a look at 5 years worth of commentary on the topic.  Bottom line, it’s been a while since boots were hot and we can’t ignore one of the few product trends in all of retail that has a chance to really drive some upside. 

The Boot Heat Map - Boots  1 11 09

The Boot Heat Map - Boots 2 11 09

Eric Levine