Footwear Sales Get Pumped Up

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By Adrianne Pasquarelli

When Liz Lusby wants to splurge on a pair of fancy, must-have boots, she divides the price by the number of times she expects to wear them, and then divides the result again, to cover each foot. “If I break it down that way, it seems more realistic, and the price isn’t that bad,” says Ms. Lusby, who works at an advertising agency. She’s not the only one justifying her shoe purchases during a recession that has ravaged shoppers and retailers alike. Across the United States, Ms. Lusby and her ilk have pumped up women’s shoe sales by 9% for the 12 months ended July 31, to $44.2 billion, while total shoe sales increased 4% over last year, according to trend research firm NPD Group Inc. Sales of women’s apparel grew just 1.2% for the same period. Department stores and footwear chains alike are feeling the love. The only losers seem to be local mom-and-pop shops that are getting squeezed by discounters and the Internet. Full Text

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