January 21, 2021

Heeling Power: Shoes Kicking at High, Low End

LONDON — The ground is shifting under the soles of the footwear industry as customers gravitate to extremes, spending their money on fast-fashion or on big-name, long-established pure players such as Manolo Blahnik and hot brands like Gucci.
The middle market, populated by the likes of Michael Kors and The Kooples, meanwhile, is being squeezed from both ends.
Jimmy Choo’s $1.35 billion sale price may have left many slack-jawed, but it was indicative of the trend: Choo, a long-established pure player, will give Michael Kors the opportunity to diversify its product offer and move upmarket in an increasingly polarized environment.
“Players at both ends of the market are better positioned: Brands like Zara and H&M are offering compelling design and price points while controlling their own buys, discounting, etc.,” said Coye Nokes, partner at OC&C Strategy Consultant’s New York office. “At the other end of the market, luxury brands like Gucci with its own distribution, either stores or concessions, have more control over merchandising and pricing — and have had significant success with their recent ranges.”
Pedro Aguilar Domínguez, industry analyst at Euromonitor International, personal accessories and eyewear, agrees. Worldwide, both the high end and the low end are at an advantage because they

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