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Volume 24 No. 156
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     Women are buying more athletic shoes than men, according to
the NPD Group, Inc., a research firm in Port Washington, NY.  In
'94, women (age 12+) purchased $5.4B in athletic footwear,
compared with $5.3B for men.  Women's sneaker sales grew 17%
between '92 and '94.  With sales of men's sneakers "flat and
other footwear segments slowing, the women's sneaker market has
become a battleground for the industry's top competitors" -- Nike
and Reebok, according to Joseph Pereira of the WALL STREET
JOURNAL.  Reebok hit the women's sneaker market early, but Nike
has "come on fast."  It now has 21.7% share, according to NDP,
with 23.4% for Reebok.  Adidas plans to introduce a women's
division later this month, and will "also unveil a new line of
women's training shoes next month."  Women's increased "interest
in watching and playing sports accounts for the increase in
sneaker sales," and that could continue with the U.S. Women's
soccer team at the Worlds in Sweden and the Women's Basketball
team in Atlanta (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/26).
     CONVERSE SIGNS THREE:  Converse has announced yesterday that
they have signed three top female basketball players from the USA
Basketball Women's Senior National Team.  Nikki McCray, Carla
McGhee and Kathryn Steding will wear Converse basketball
footwear, while appearing in print ads and participating in
retailer tie-ins (Converse).