Independent Shoe Stores Are Dying – and It’s the Major Footwear Brands That Are Killing Them

The New York Times is reporting that major footwear brands, including Nike and Adidas, are pulling out of independent shoe stores across America in order to increase their own direct-sales, and many of those stores are shutting down as a result.

A large number of independent retailers have been “cut off… by giant shoe manufacturers adjusting their retail strategies,“ the story says, noting that sales in the $72 billion footwear market were up four percent last year, but that “direct-to-consumer sales from brands’ own stores, websites and catalogs grew much faster, at 12 percent.”

In addition to “increasingly steering customers to their own websites,” brands like Nike, Adidas, and UGGs have started requiring prohibitive minimums for wholesale orders that most smaller retailers simply cannot meet.

And this shift is causing serious harm to an already struggling sub-industry: there’s only an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 independent shoe stores left in the US. And If those stores don’t have access to the world’s most popular brands and products, they won’t be around much longer.

As one store owner said, the “trend seems to be that volume is the way for the big shoe companies to make money. Obviously, a hole-in-the-wall shoe store doesn’t speak volume.”

You can read more about it at The New York Times.

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