FYU: Shoes

As reported in our latest Executive Briefing, Payless has once again surpassed Walmart for the top spot in Shoes. If you are a follower of our monthly insights on this topic, you would know that while this is a rare occurrence (Payless was last #1 in NOV-09), these two footwear retailers have been tangling for the top prize for quite some time:

Shoes - Store Shopped Most Often

Is there a reason behind Payless’ failed commitment to the lead in Shoes? Why isn’t Walmart hot-to-trot in this category, as it is with Men’s and Children’s Apparel, Groceries, and Health & Beauty Care? And doesn’t that two month upswing for Kohl’s, DSW, JC Penney look interesting in the chart above? For Your Understanding this month, we’ll hoof it through these questions, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports*.

In just the first few pages of this handy guide, we can see that:

-  Women have a preference for Payless, while Men typically head to Walmart most often. But speaking from a strictly biased point of view (#iloveshoes), we females are the Shoe connoisseurs and not-so-much for the fellas, right?
-  The sweet spot group of customers for both Walmart and Payless earn under $50,000 per year – so these retailers are competing for a lot of the same attention.
-  Interestingly, Kohl’s is tops among consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets (though Payless is a close #2 with $50,000+ wage earners.)
-  Payless is the victor among the young crowd (18-34 year olds) and lands about a point ahead of #2 Walmart with shoppers 35 to 54 years old. Walmart is the favorite among those 55+.
-  Among the fashion forward set (a growing group of shoppers, according to our latest findings), Payless is most popular, followed by DSW, Foot Locker (OK, maybe a few men do enjoy shopping for Shoes), Macy’s, and finally Walmart. The competition is closer between Walmart and Payless among those who prefer value and comfort as well as shoppers sporting traditional styling.
-  Payless is tops in the Northeast and out West, while Walmart holds the Southern stronghold. Walmart leads by just a point over Payless and Kohl’s in the Midwest.

But let’s look a bit deeper with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Shoes show that Walmart is slipping in a segment in which Payless shines (along with Kohl’s and DSW and Macy’s and JC Penney):  the all-important and all-knowing female segment. Here, Payless has experienced near 12% growth while Walmart is suffering from a near 20% decline.Consumer Equity Index for Shoes - Women

BTW, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: female consumer preference share for DSW has increased 30%+ over March 2011. Macy’s and Kohl’s are also excelling among Women with nearly 20% growth apiece. Rising share for JC Penney is more in line with Payless at about 12%. #fiercecompetition

And, recall that sweet spot of core customers for both Walmart and Payless? If you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year, you would find that Payless’ share is gaining, while Walmart’s is waning.

Now you understand: Payless is gaining ground over Walmart with two key demographics for both of these discount-oriented retailers: 1.) Women and 2.) Under $50,000 wage earners. Growing competition from the likes of Kohl’s, DSW, and JC Penney may be preventing Payless from gaining surer footing as the lead in this category.

Bottom Line: I clearly need more shoes Stay tuned for further developments in this hot category.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, MAR-11 – MAR-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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