American footwear retailers are gradually reopening with the staggered lifting of the lockdown in the U.S., but local consumers have expressed unease about shopping as the country continues to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A survey by the Washington Post and University of Maryland showed that only 34 percent of interviewees believed that shops should reopen. In the poll, carried out April 28 to May 3 among a national sample of 1,005 adults, 67 percent of respondents said they would be “uncomfortable” going to a clothing store.
Nevertheless, concern about the virus has not stopped Americans from buying footwear and apparel. Payments solutions firm Klarna, which has 7 million users in the U.S., reported a 20 percent rise in average daily transactions in that category for the week of April 25 – May 2. The figures are compared with purchases in the previous weeks.
The data also showed that both Millennials and Gen Zers have increased the proportion of their spending on apparel, footwear and accessories for the third week in a row, but a growing share, for both generations, was destined to online marketplaces.
Among leading footwear chains, Genesco began reopening some stores on May 1 where state and local officials allowed malls to operate. On May 11, the company’s Journeys business was operating in more than 300 locations and anticipated reopening over 400 stores by the end of May. The company’s Johnston & Murphy banner plans to begin its initial phase of store reopenings with up to 30 locations reopening this week, up to an additional 40 locations next week, and a more aggressive schedule to follow. Genesco expects many more openings in June.
Genesco pointed out that its British unit Schuh is waiting for further direction from local governments before setting a timetable to restart retail operations.
Shoe Carnival also reopened 122 stores on May 1 and opened a further 62 on May 4, according to the latest official count. Skechers has resumed business in some states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado and Missouri and is planning to have 350 stores, mainly in North America, operational by the third week of May.