Men’s October Footwear Sales Regain Traction; Overall Sales Down In Core Shops

Words & Graphs: Cary Allington

Apparel, footwear, and accessory sales achieved year-over-year growth during October in the core shops on the same-store ActionWatch retail panel. Footwear had the strongest growth led by sandals and men’s closed-toe shoes. This is in stark contrast to just two months ago when women’s closed-toe shoes were still on fire. After abruptly falling into negative sales growth in September, women’s shoes continued with a sales decline in October. However, sandals sales growth was strong enough to bring the whole female footwear category into positive territory.

Many apparel classes achieved very strong growth in October with some of the best growth numbers coming from skirts, dresses, swimwear, shorts, pants, and tanks. There were also a few apparel classes with single-digit negative growth, and denim was once again one of the worst apparel performers.

Accessory sales were up overall despite a few segments that struggled in October. Sales of women’s hats and socks were down while sales of bags, watches, and belts were down for all genders. The best performers in the accessories category were sunglasses, men’s socks, and women’s wallets.

The overall sales growth for all categories was slightly down in October, with the biggest decrease coming from skate hardgoods. Although a couple skate hardgood classes did achieve positive sales growth, most endured double-digit sales declines in October. Surf, bodyboard, and wakeboard hardgood sales were all up in October, while sales of protective gear and skimboard hardgoods were in negative territory, along with skate.


Footwear sales growth reversed the down-sloping trend in October but hardgoods and wetsuits pulled the overall growth number down into slightly negative territory.

The ActionWatch Retail Panel includes 250 surf/skate independent specialty shops across the U.S. and is growing rapidly as more retailers join the free program. Retailers who participate get free access to a set of 50 reports updated each month. Retailers interested in joining the ActionWatch Retail Panel can get more information at

All ActionWatch reports are made from the aggregated data of the participating retailers, which are located throughout the U.S. and vary in size from 750-square-foot shops to stores over 10,000 square feet. Data is collected monthly from electronic reports submitted by participating retailers.