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COULD THE WORST BE OVER? SNEAKER INDUSTRY SEES RAYS OF HOPE
Published May 10, 1999
Rebounding from "last year's nasty slump," the sneaker industry is "showing signs of life," as "fashion seems to be shifting back to" athletic shoes, according to Evelyn Nussenbaum of the N.Y. POST. First Security Van Kasper analyst John Shanley said, "It's a fashion cycle. It's the demise of hip-hop, which is being replaced by more clean-cut types of clothes. And those go better with sneakers." Additionally, consumers are "finally excited about" new products on the market. Black & Company's Jennifer Black said, "There's finally enough newness in the mall to attract customers." Nike's $125 "Tuned Air" is "one of the most talked-about new products," and Shanley said the "most encouraging" aspect about the Tuned Air is that "it's being done without an endorsement. There's no Michael Jordan for Tuned Air. Kids are buying it because they like it." But some industry observers say that they're "not sure whether the sneaker business is really growing, or just shifting from some brands to others." One analyst: "There are a lot of new players out there. Nike is maintaining its market share. But below Nike I think there are a lot of people just trading places" (N.Y. POST, 5/10).