In spite of strong competition from the athletic footwear brands in the disputed territory of lifestyle sneakers, the branded casual footwear market grew by 6.0 percent in terms of invoiced dollars to an estimated level of $20.8 billion in 2019, according to a study conducted by Shoe Intelligence in collaboration Sporting Goods Intelligence. Comparatively, the much larger athletic footwear market, dominated by Nike and Adidas, grew by 6.7 percent to $70.9 billion, as already reported in SGI Europe, while the rugged outdoor footwear market, led by Merrell, went up by 7.0 percent to $5.5 billion, as reported in our company’s Outdoor Industry Compass. One reason for the good performance was the ongoing strength of the accessible and ubiquitous Skechers brand, the leader in the casual footwear market, which plays also in the performance sport segment of the shoe market. If we exclude Skechers, the casual footwear market would have risen by only 4.1 percent worldwide, with gains of 6.6 percent in the U.S. and 2.5 percent in the rest of the world, where the brand has expanded the most lately. Adding Skechers, the market outside the U.S. grew at a slightly faster rate than in the U.S. last year. It would have gone up even more without the 5 percent appreciation of the dollar against the euro, which affected the performance of European-based companies such as Birkenstock. We shall run the full story with a chart on the major brands in the market in Shoe Intelligence shortly.