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RETAILERS DEVELOP OWN SHOE LINES; MORE ON OAKLEY'S LAUNCH
Published May 12, 1998
As the athletic shoe industry "is squeezed by a glut of product," some of its largest retailers "are fighting back with private labels," according to BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton. This year, FootAction will introduce a line of hiking, trail and outdoors shoes via a license from Land Rove; The Sports Authority will roll-out a similar line under license from Tyrolia; and Foot Locker and Champs will market a line of Champion-branded footwear for back-to-school. In addition, NY-based Muller Sports Group is developing branded footwear for JCPenney, one of which will use the company's rights to the U.S. Olympic Team marks. Lefton reports that selling a private label allows shoe retailers to improve margins by a "minimum" of 10%, "a big attraction at a time when the athletic shoe business is suffering and both consumers and retailers are seeing too many me-too product in too many me- too stores." Smith Barney analyst Faye Landes: "It will take a lot of marketing muscle if they really want to grow private label as a business, but most of them are investing a lot there anyway, so why not throw that money toward something where they can get better margins and build something they can keep?" (BRANDWEEK, 5/11 issue). NOT YOUR SAME OLD TIRE-D SHOE: In N.Y., James Sterngold examines Oakley's introduction in the sneaker market, "an unusual black and yellow woven shoe with a motorcycle racing tire for a sole." Oakley will focus its shoe sale on 200 or so sporting goods stores which also carry its sunglasses and it will retail for $125. Sterngold adds that the new shoe "is an attempt to do in the shoe market what Oakley's sunglasses did in that market: create a niche by using high technology and a high-technology look" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/12).