Double-Digit Advance in June Footwear Sales Boosts Prospects for a Partial Recovery in 2021

Key Information

  • The value of footwear and leather goods sales in June jumped 63.6% year-on-year.
  • Retail demand for footwear and leather goods in June grew faster than the broader retail market.
  • Textile, clothing, and footwear stores were the only retail sector to enjoy a year-on-year gain in e-commerce sales in June.
  • The June jump accelerated the gain in YTD footwear demand, hinting at a full year rebound in 2021.
  • It likely will take years for retail demand for footwear and leather goods to return to pre-pandemic levels.


Growth in demand for footwear and leather goods expanded faster than the rest of the retail market in June 2021, fortifying an expansion in year-to-date sales and hinting at a partial recovery in demand in 2021, according to the latest Retail Report by the British Footwear Association (BFA).

Both the volume and value of footwear and leather goods sold in June rose impressively, up 62.3% and 63.6% year-on-year respectively, easily outpacing gains across the broader retail market for the third straight month.  These robust gains over the last quarter suggest shoppers with pent-up demand are eager to buy replacement footwear.  Even across the online channel, while other retail sub-sectors posted unwelcome declines from a year earlier, e-commerce sales at textile, clothing, and footwear stores rose year-on-year for the fourteenth straight month, reflecting this shift in shopper interest.

This latest reading helped the expansion in year-to-date sales of footwear and leather goods gain more traction, hinting that full-year sales similarly are likely to rebound.  Over the first half of the year these sales are up 9.7% in value terms and 12.9% in volume terms.  We estimate for full-year sales to match 2020 sales, demand can afford to retreat an average -10.1% and -7.7% in value and volume terms respectively over the remaining second half of the year.

Given currently upbeat consumer sentiment and our expectation for spending to rise further in coming months, continued gains in sales of footwear and leather goods will cement prospects for this retail sector to rebound in 2021, although far short of enough to recover from last year’s plunge in demand.

Instead, a full recovery to 2019 levels remains over the horizon and unlikely until next year at the earliest.

BFA Members can download the complete Retail Report for 2021, here.