What happened

Shares of Designer Brands (NYSE:DB) fell 52.3% in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic shut down retail outlets -- both its own stores and third party locations -- damaging the footwear company's sales trajectory.

So what

With stay at home orders and lockdowns the norm of the day, there were few occasions for wearing fashion footwear, even after states began allowing the economy to reopen. Rather than the high-end shoes and casual wear Designer Brands was known for, consumers were choosing to buy footwear useful for fitness and outdoor activities. 

Sneakers hanging from a power line

Image source: Getty Images.

The shoe company did come to the realization it needed to change its focus, and has been leaning heavily into activewear to catch up to the wave, but it's not exactly an underrepresented field either and Designer Brands needs to convince customers to check out what it offers instead of going to the competition they're familiar with.

DBI Chart

DBI data by YCharts

Now what

Shares of the footwear company were bolstered by the prospect of new stimulus checks being issued by the government, but it seems we'll only be getting $600 and not the $2,000 favored by President Trump.

There will be a lot of demands placed upon those paltry checks beyond just footwear, with food, housing, and debt likely to place higher on the list of priorities. That suggests the money won't trickle down to Designer Brands or its top line results.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.