RETAILERS HOPE NBA SEASON CAN KICK-START LAGGING SALES
"Mired in a prolonged slump," sporting goods chains are hoping the return of the NBA season can "help spark a revival" in the $2.2B basketball shoe business, according to Richard Wilner of the N.Y. POST. The Sports Authority VP/ Merchandise Joe Chichelo: "These are very important weeks coming. I hope the marquee shoes bring some life back into the basketball category." Chichelo said "the non-marquee" basketball shoe priced over $90 has "not been performing as it once was." Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Michael Modell: "The (Allen) Iverson shoe has been very popular and we will be keeping an eye on sales to see how the entire business is doing." Wilner adds that "stores are so desperate to pull in crowds ... they are twisting the arms of sneaker makers for exclusive launch dates." For example, a New York City Foot Locker will be the first to debut Fila's Grant Hill IV shoe on Saturday and Hill "will be on hand to pump [up] the volume of sales" (Richard Wilner, N.Y. POST, 10/30).