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Kids' basketball footwear sales soar, skateboarding shoe sales dip: NPD Group

TORONTO - Surging interest in athleticwear isn't limited to apparel as a report from The NPD Group finds that kids' footwear sales in the category are steadily climbing.

The NPD Group's monthly data service provides clients with insights and analysis on what's occurring in the marketplace, specifically with apparel, footwear and beauty categories, said fashion industry analyst Sandy Silva.

The group's annual Fashion Insight and Trends Report revealed that the kids' footwear category saw the most year-over-year sales growth across all shoe segments — the majority of which takes place in the weeks leading up to the new school year.

The NPD Group found the top kid's categories propelling growth are snow boots and running shoes with annual sales of $107 million and $57 million respectively for the year ending December 2013.

"Certainly, similar to the what's happening in the adult market, we see running shoes enjoying a bit of an increase," said Silva. That could be very much because parents may be realizing for their kids, too, that they're wearing their running shoes outside of traditional exercise environments."

While running/jogging shoes saw one per cent increase from October 2012 to October 2013, the sales of shoes in the basketball category soared with a 30 per cent increase over the same period. Meanwhile, sales of skateboarding footwear declined by four per cent.

"If you do think about basketball over the last year with the success of the (Toronto) Raptors and (global brand ambassador) Drake's participation with the Raptors... they're doing a good job with that, because it seems from our data that it's reflecting in terms of what kids want to wear," said Silva.

In examining data from August through October between 2011 and 2013, Silva said she found it interesting that October was the biggest month for kids' apparel in terms of sales.

"I believe it's kids not only wanting to see what their peers are wearing, but if you wait until October, chances are retailers are starting to take that first markdown to move merchandise a little bit quicker. So I believe that has an effect on it as well," said Silva.

"Parents have to be price-conscious for their kids because they're growing so quickly and they're very particular with the types of clothes that they want to wear. They want to make sure that they're on point as well with fashion and keeping up with the latest trends. I think parents, knowing that, they realize that waiting a little bit they can appease their kids and probably save some money at the same time."

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