U.S. footwear imports rose 21.95% in the first nine months of 2022 to 2 billion pairs, according to data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA). That marks a drop from an increase of 24.8% a month earlier and 27.4% in the first half.
The slowdown in shoes brought into the country by retailers and brands for crucial fourth-quarter sales came as companies grapple with high inventories and worry about a decline in consumer demand.
Wolverine Worldwide President and CEO Brendan Hoffman said last week that the key to fourth quarter success would be inventory clearance. At the end of the third quarter, the shoemaker’s inventory stood at $880.9 million, up 113.8% from a year ago.
“We are facing congestion in our own fulfillment centers and inland transportation networks in the United States and many wholesale customers are currently facing heavier inventory and warehouse constraints,” Hoffman said during an interview. a conference call with analysts. “These headwinds have resulted in some shipping delays that have affected most of our brands.”
of the number 1 supplier, China, increased by 18.8% in the first three quarters of the year to reach 1.14 billion pairs, according to OTEXA. That figure was down from a 23.8% gain in the eight-month period to August.
It’s unclear whether this week’s meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will prompt the US government to lower tariffs on Chinese goods, including shoes, which as geopolitical disputes escalate , modified some procurement strategies to reduce production risk factors in the country.
Footwear shipments from the No. 2 supplier, Vietnam, rose 16.8% to 489.75 million pairs during the period. For Vietnam, that improved from its 13.9% rise a month earlier.
According to OTEXA, China and Vietnam combined for a US import market share of 81.5% during the nine-month period, down slightly from an 81.8% share during the period of the previous month.
Imports from Indonesia, the third-largest producer of U.S. brands and retailers, jumped 52.7% to 149.37 million pairs in the nine months, remaining above a 50% gain since the start of the year for the third consecutive month.
Rounding out the top five suppliers, shipments rose 40.9% to 60.76 million pairs from Cambodia and 49.3% to 32.12 million pairs from India.