Fila Holding SpA cut the price of the new shoe that was expected to be the centerpiece of its 1997 line by 15 percent as sales of its other shoes declined, retailers said.
The Italian maker of sneakers and sports apparel, which has its U.S. headquarters in Sparks, sent a letter to retailers yesterday telling them to cut the price of the Stackhouse basketball shoe to $85 from $99 after demand for its Grant Hill shoe slowed.
Slowing sales and a price cut could spell trouble for Fila, whose shoes sell more on fickle fashion trends than the performance-oriented goods offered by Nike Inc. and Reebok International Ltd.
"Sales for Fila's products have slowed in general and also the Grant Hill shoe," said analyst Jennifer Black Groves of Black & Co.
The Biella, Italy-based shoemaker's American depositary receipts fell $4.375 to $65.375 in trading of 687,500, more than the three-month daily average of 454,378.
There was some good news yesterday for the company as a survey showed Fila and Nike with the biggest gains in U.S. sales and market share among sporting goods companies in 1996.
Sales at Fila surged 51 percent to $575 million from $380 million in 1995. Fila has about 7.7 percent of the market, ranking it third, according to Sporting Goods Intelligence, a Pennsylvania-based industry newsletter.
Nike built on its industry-leading position with a 29 percent increase in sales to $3.26 billion from $2.53 billion. It holds a commanding 43 percent of the market, up from 37 percent a year ago.
Nike accounted for much of the industry's growth, the newsletter said. U.S. sales overall rose 11 percent -- the first double-digit gain in six years -- to $7.52 billion.
Sales at No. 2 Reebok International Ltd. dropped 14 percent to $1.21 billion from $1.41 billion. Reebok's market share also fell, dropping to 16.1 percent from 20.8 percent, the newsletter said.
New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. and Airwalk, both of which are closely held, saw significant gains in 1996 among the 10 best-selling companies.
New Balance, best known for its running shoes, saw its sales rise 33 percent to $200 million, ranking it fifth with 2.7 percent of the market. Skate shoe maker Airwalk's sales rose 25 percent to $158 million, placing it eighth at 2.1 percent.
Adidas AG placed fourth with 5.2 percent of the market. The German company's U.S. sales rose 10 percent to $390 million.
Sales at Keds, Converse Inc. and L. A. Gear Inc. fell, however, with L. A. Gear dropping the most. Its sales fell 28 percent to $140 million. It holds about 1.9 percent of the market, ranking it ninth.
Pub Date: 1/31/97