SBD/12/Finance

ANALYSTS COMMENT ON STRENGTH OF ATHLETIC SHOE BUSINESS

          On CNBC's "Bull Session," The Sports Authority CEO Jack
     Smith said, "Our footwear business all year has been very
     strong.  We've seen a little bit of a shift in the wants of
     the consumer where basketball and the cross training have
     now been taken over by the running and walking categories." 
     Jay Meltzer, LJR Redbook Research: "There is [a] shift away
     from basketball. ... In addition, there is a neatness
     movement afoot, and that means the return to the brown shoe
     and the adventure shoes."  TSA's Smith, on brown shoes: "Its
     always been a category, but not something I'd say has taken
     away from the athletic footwear business. ... It will never
     take away from athletic footwear."  Smith: "The NBA is
     suffering a little bit, especially in licensed products,
     we're not seeing that great impact."  Smith, on why shoes,
     including Reebok's Iverson model and Fila's Hill model,
     aren't selling very well: "We don't get the same excitement
     that we had when a new launch came out and people were lined
     up around the corner to buy that shoe" (CNBC, 12/11).
          MORE SHOE NEWS: On CNBC's "Business Center," Maria
     Bartiromo: "The athletic footwear industry continues its
     slump."  She noted Reebok's earning report sent its stock
     "down sharply, and it took stocks like Nike, Fila and
     Converse down with it, and said, "Now investors are
     wondering which company will be next to acknowledge such a
     slowdown."  CNBC's Garrett Glaser: "Reebok's troubles are
     industry troubles.  The entire category is softening, growth
     is slowing, unsold inventory at retailers is higher than
     it's been" (CNBC, 12/11).  In L.A., Black & Co.'s Jennifer
     Black Groves: "The next three months would be a great time
     to be buying sneakers" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).

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