According to The Monthly Mall Merchandise Index, maintained by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), sales/square foot in mall-based Athletic Footwear stores were $41 in December, a gain of 1.5% versus December LY. Sales for 2002 declined 2.0% to $275/sf. Family footwear stores generated just $34/sf for the month and $274/sf for the year. Men’s Apparel stores saw December sales shrink 7.3% to $45/sf and full-year sales per square foot down 6.3% to $272/sf.

Sporting goods stores and bicycle shops saw a nice increase in December, reporting a 4.9% gain in square footage sales to $45/sf. Sales for 2002 were $250 per square foot, a 0.6% increase versus 2001.

In another report out last week, the NSGA, through its research developed by Irwin Broh & Associates, indicated that while females continue to lead males as purchasers of sports footwear, their lead decreased in 2002. According to the NSGA report, females purchased 53.1% of all sports footwear in 2002 compared to 54.7% in 2001.

That data also shows that female purchase location shifted, with a lower percentage of women purchasing shoes in sporting goods stores (40.0% in 2002 versus 41.8% in 2001) and specialty athletic footwear stores (46.7% in 2002 versus 49.8% in 2001). Women increased their purchases versus men in discount stores, up from 56.0% in 2001 to 57.2% in 2002.

The average prices females pay for sports footwear remains below that of males, $36.53 versus $42.88. In 2001, the average price paid by females was $38.55, versus $43.43 for males.

NPD data released last week appeared to both support and contradict the Broh assertions, showing that women paid an average of $35.51 per pair of athletic footwear in 2002, a decrease of just over 3.5% versus the $35.80 paid per pair in 2001. The average pair price, while differing from the Broh data, does support the price deflation data. The big difference is the Men’s/Women’s ratio, but much of this number can be attributed to how the numbers are broken down.

NPD breaks the numbers by Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s, while NSGA and Irwin Broh break the data by gender.
The numbers here would seem to support the notion that girl’s athletic footwear sales are on the increase, leading the gains in “Kid’s” sales in the NPD numbers while bolstering the “Female” ratios shown in the Broh data.

The NPD Group data also supports the price deflation issue, with consumers purchasing nearly 7% more pairs of athletic footwear in 2002, but with a 4.2% decline in average price paid per pair.

The result was that total spending on athletic footwear rose only 2.5% for the year.