Sector Insight: Shoes - Step Change

Marketing, September 8, 2004 | Go to article overview

Sector Insight: Shoes - Step Change


Footwear has shifted from functional to fashionable, attracting new entrants to the sector. Claire Murphy reports.

THE BACKGROUND - From furry boots to kitten heels, fashionable footwear is big business. Sex and the City helped popularise the notion that what you wear on your feet can be just as stylish - not to mention expensive - as the rest of your clothes, and women in particular are beginning to buy pairs of shoes for every occasion. Clothes retailers have been quick to catch on, producing footwear to create complete ensembles. The result has been that specialist outlets such as Clarks and Barratts have struggled to grow as fast as the overall shoe market - but now they are starting to fight back.

Carrie Bradshaw has a lot to answer for. The heroine of Sex and the City has done more than most to encourage the idea that shoe shopping can be impulsive entertainment, rather than a once-a-season activity.

Thanks to Bradshaw's Manolo Blahnik obsession, as well as changes in UK fashion trends that have increased the variety of footwear women own, shoe retailing has been a relatively buoyant market over the past few years. Sales rose by more than 4% in both 2002 and 2003, with the market worth an estimated pounds 5.2bn in 2004, according to Mintel.

There is a definite gender split in the sector. Men still tend to buy shoes only when they need to replace a worn-out pair; indeed, 17% of men did not buy any shoes in the year to March. And when they do buy a pair, they are most likely to do so from a sports or outdoor shop.

Women, however, are increasingly viewing footwear as almost disposable, according to James Lovell, marketing manager at Barratts. 'They will buy a pair of shoes to match an outfit, wear them a few times, then move on to the next pair,' he says.

Footwear is now regarded as a fashion item in its own right and can generate pages of editorial in women's magazines in the same way as clothes. There is a practical element too: rising numbers of working women mean they buy a wider selection of smart shoes.

Boot bonanza

The market has recently been boosted by the popularity of boots, which came back into fashion in 2002. These offer retailers a highly profitable revenue stream, since boot prices are on average double those of shoes.

Last winter the trend for Australian boot brand Ugg helped to swell the market again, as did a resurgence in skirt-wearing, which led to women buying more shoes to fit with various outfits.

According to Mintel, the market is polarising into smart and sporty shoes as women move away from all-purpose casual shoes, sales of which have dropped as a result.

Specialist chains such as Clarks, Ravel, Barratts and Faith are still the most likely destinations for shoe shoppers, along with Marks & Spencer.

But the growth in the market has attracted many non-specialist retailers to diversify into shoes. Value chains including Matalan, TK Maxx and Primark have made sizeable inroads into the market over the past few years, with 8% of consumers buying footwear from these outlets in the year to March.

The big story in this sector over the past few years has been the impact of high-street clothing chains such as New Look and Top Shop, which have sold shoes and boots that complement their clothing ranges. New Look hired cult Mayfair shoe designer Georgina Goodman to design a range for its spring and summer 2004 collection, while Top Shop has proved it can transfer its talent for translating designer clothing into cheaper high-street wear to the shoe sector. The chain unveiled its first footwear range two years ago, and last month opened its first dedicated shop, Shoes by Top Shop, in Manchester, with plans to roll out the format nationwide. In its main stores, this season's Top Shop Unique shoe range adopts the fashionable vintage look, with 40s styles inspired by designer Marc Jacobs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sector Insight: Shoes - Step Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.