Footwear catalogers put their best file forward

No dramatic changes are afoot in the footwear market when it comes to the number of names available for rental or exchange. New York-based media brokerage services firm ParadyszMatera estimates the total footwear catalog house file universe at 3.27 million names for the first quarter of 2005, up 5% from the previous first quarter.

Footwear buyers represent only about 6% of all consumer apparel catalog buyers available for list rental or exchange. But the 3.27 million names do not include those from marketers that sell footwear amid other merchandise rather than selling it exclusively. What’s more, the catalogs classified as selling footwear offer more than shoes. For instance, the catalog in this category with the largest house file, FootSmart (nearly 514,000 12-month buyers), sells ankle supports, analgesic rubs, insoles, and mobility products in addition to shoes, socks, and hosiery.

FootSmart, in fact, enjoyed significant growth during the past year. Thanks to aggressive prospecting, the size of its 12-month buyer file increased 33%. Other major gainers include four-year-old women’s shoes catalog Complements by Anthony Richards. A spin-off of AmeriMark’s Anthony Richards book, it grew its 12-month file 47% during the past year, to 141,000 names.

Interestingly, while the use of incentives and promotions has increased overall during the past few years, their use among foot-wear merchants has declined. Whereas 22% had offered some sort of incentive in 2002, according to ParadyszMatera, last year only 16% did so. One incentive has grown in popularity among the market segment, however, just as it has among catalogers overall: 11% of the footwear mailers offered free shipping last year, up from 6% two years earlier.

Total house file universe: footwear catalogers
1Q
2003
2Q
2003
3Q
2003
4Q
2003
1Q
2004
2Q
2004
3Q
2004
4Q
2004
1Q
2005
Total universe 2.89 3.08 3.14 3.07 3.12 3.25 3.28 3.32 3.27
Footwear catalogers with the largest active buyer files
Rank List name 1Q 2005 house file universe Average order
Source: ParadyszMatera 1 FootSmart 513,607 $62
2 Maryland Square 405,373 $93
3 Road Runner Sports 320,896 $110
4 B.A. Mason 302,568 $87
5 Auditions 183,233 $81

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