Foot Locker CEO Claims Malls Are “Far From Dead”

Image courtesy of JeepersMedia

Maybe it’s just because Foot Locker had sales growth to report because people are snapping up higher priced- basketball and running shoes, but the company’s CEO seems to be in a very positive mood about the state of malls in the U.S., which is surprising at a time when other mall-based retailers are struggling.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Foot Locker had higher average selling prices in the last quarter, bolstered by the popularity of Under Armour Inc.’s Stephen Curry sneaker and Nike Inc.’s latest Kevin Durant signature shoe, the KD9. Not necessarily because people want to exercise in the shoes, but because they’re fashionable, Foot Locker says.

“The facts are that most of the basketball shoes that we sell never see a basketball court. Most of the running shoes that we sell never see the roads or the trail or the track,” CEO Dick Johnson said on a conference call. “They just look really good, and they’re part of the sneaker culture that we really support.”

Traffic to the company’s almost 1,000 U.S. stores was also higher in the last quarter, again, despite an overall downward trend seen at department stores and other mall chains: sales in the second quarter were up 4.7% at existing Foot Locker stores, higher than the 3.9% expected by analysts.

“The malls are far from dead, regardless of what’s going on with the anchors,” Johnson said, adding that the company’s customers still like going to malls just to hang out with their friends.

But while men’s apparel sold pretty well, the company says its women’s apparel business was “challenged” last quarter. The company is trying to offer more of a variety of women’s clothing, chasing the same “athleisure” wear trend that other retailers like Victoria’s Secret are focusing on as well. You know, the look that says, “I could be ready to go to yoga class, or maybe I’m just heading to Whole Foods for a few things and want people to think I went to yoga class.”

Foot Locker CEO: ‘Malls Are Far From Dead’ [Wall Street Journal]

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