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FASHION TRENDS LEAD TO A DROP IN SALES FOR ATHLETIC SHOES

          Industry experts say that sales in the athletic shoe
     market "will be flat this year, mainly because of an
     unexpected drop in basketball shoe demand," according to
     CNBC's Amanda Grove on "The Edge."  Fila "is putting out
     warnings that worldwide sales are down, and it's not alone. 
     Decline in basketball shoe popularity has hit manufacturers
     hard.  ... [E]xperts say leaders like Fila, Nike and
     Converse are suffering, due to overproduction and sluggish
     demand."  The "winners right now" include adidas, Vans and
     Timberland, "best known for its brown hiking boots." 
     Barnard Retail Group's Kurt Barnard: "The brown shoe has
     really caught the sneaker industry by surprise, and the
     sneaker industry so far hasn't been able to respond to any
     significant extent."  But Grove said it may be "too late ...
     for the others to catch up."  Smith Barney's Faye Landes:
     "There are very long lead times on producing sneakers.  The
     design and production process in total is well over a year." 
     CNBC's Grove adds that while 19% of athletic shoes are
     purchased for sport, 81% "is all about fashion, and at least
     for now, basketball shoes are out of style" (CNBC, 11/5).

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