The German shoe retailers' federation, BDSE, reported a slight drop of 0.5 percent for the first six months of this year. The second half of 2011 also started cautiously, as July brought a decline of 8.0 percent after the huge drop of 17 percent suffered in June. Calculations indicate that retail sales of shoes in all kinds of outlets reached about €6.6 billion in the first seven months of 2011, including €4.3 billion for the specialty shoe retail trade.

A survey conducted by BDSE found that 61 percent of specialist shoe retailers achieved sales growth, but 39 percent had sales decreases. Flat sales figures during the first half of 2011 could only be reached by means of higher price reductions. This led to lower profits in the shoe retail sector. According to the survey, only 31 percent of the specialist shoe retailers in Germany recorded an increase in profits, whereas 41 percent estimated that their profit decreased in the first half of this year.

Therefore, a striking 47 percent of the shoe retailers interviewed by BDSE were thinking of reducing their purchasing volume. Roughly two-thirds of all stores also planned to reduce the number of products they carry, in order to specialize and focus on deeper ranges and to raise product availability for their customers.

For many German shoe retailers, it will be hard to match the high sales figures they reached last year. Only 16.8 percent are expecting an increase. However, BDSE officials expect increases of between 3.5 and 5 percent in the average retail price of shoes sold because of higher customer demand for boots with elaborate constructions.