Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Shoe shop: What to sell

The range of footwear that you sell will depend on what type of shop you intend to run. Your research may have identified a niche in the market that your shop can fill. For example, you might specialise in upmarket designer footwear. Stocking sizes, brands and colours that are difficult to obtain elsewhere could also attract customers to your shop.

Rather than specialising in a particular type or brand of footwear you might decide to sell mainly budget priced shoes - but bear in mind that you will face stiff competition from the multiple footwear chains, from both their outlets and their websites, as well as from supermarkets. Alternatively, you may decide to stock a wide range of styles and prices to try to cater for everybody.

The types of footwear you stock might include some or all of the following:

  • men's town wear, work and casual shoes and boots
  • women's town wear, work and casual and comfort shoes and boots
  • sheepskin and faux fur boots
  • children's shoes and boots
  • sports shoes, including running shoes, football boots, cycling shoes and so on - sports shoes have become particularly popular as they are comfortable and have become acceptable in both work and social situations
  • protective and safety footwear
  • slippers and house shoes
  • sandals, flip-flops and light casual or summer footwear
  • specialist footwear, including remedial and even theatrical or dance shoes

Most of your income is likely to come from the sale of shoes and other items of footwear, but you might also consider selling a number of other items. For example:

  • shoe care products, including polish, waterproofer and whitener
  • laces, insoles and even DIY repair kits
  • accessories, including shoehorns, polishing sponges and odour preventers
  • belts, handbags, brief cases, wallets, saddlery and other leather goods
  • ties, socks, gloves, tights and stockings and so on
  • sunglasses, costume jewellery and hats


Shoe shops tend to be busiest during December, although summer is a busy period too, with sales peaking around July. At these times of the year make sure that you have enough stock to cope with demand. It's usual in the footwear trade to order stock in advance, so plan ahead to ensure that your stock reflects the season: it is no good trying to sell flip-flops in winter when many of your customers will be looking for sturdier footwear or evening shoes for the Christmas party season. Most shops will stock a summer range and a winter range at appropriate times of the year. Sales may be affected by unusual weather - a very cold autumn may stimulate sales of winter footwear, while warm weather at this time of year has the opposite effect. Similarly, very poor summer weather affects sales of sandals and light summer shoes.

It is common to hold seasonal sales and promotions - sales are traditionally held in January, although a summer sale may be held in August to shift surplus summer stock.

You might decide to discount slow-moving ranges regularly to make room for newer stock.