Saturday, April 13, 2024

Footwear Expert Says Legal Marijuana May Hurt Shoe Retailers

Some stories just make you scratch your head in wonder. And this is just one of those stories. According to Footwear News (yes, there is such a thing), marijuana legalization will take the shine out of shoe sales.

Really? In the past, we have published stories highlighting that cannabis consumption may put a dent in beer sales. We’ve even written about how cannabis may diminish wine sales. But shoes?

Here’s how the Footwear News describes the shoe/cannabis situation:

The shoe business could face some very blunt news. Retailers based in California on Monday began to deal with a new potential threat: the legalization of marijuana.

One industry expert said the shift of consumers’ discretionary dollars is likely to harm footwear sales — in particular, sneakers. “Studies show marijuana sales could reach $50 billion in the US,” said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor at The NPD Group Inc. “When a new business of this magnitude comes online, it takes discretionary spending out of every industry.”

Powell went on to forecast that younger consumers in legal marijuana states will be redirecting their spending. “Young people, in particular, tend to be early adopters of new things in the marketplace,” he said. “My sense is that this cohort would be hurt harder.”

Powell’s point makes a little sense. Discretionary spending at some point becomes a zer0-sum game. Will a shoe shopper rather have an ounce of fine cannabis or a new pair of pumps?

“But my gut is that this is not good news for the footwear industry, that’s for sure. It’s going to have a huge impact,” Powell told Footwear News. “If you spend money on one thing, it’s money you don’t have to spend on something else. And your average 25-year-old already has so many expenses before they leave the home: student loans, car payments, Amazon Prime. That’s a significant portion of their income. They’re already committed to those payments.”

If you start seeing people walking barefoot with a vape pen between their lips, you’ll know why, we guess.


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