2009 Annual SNEWS Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: Top-selling outerwear, sportswear and footwear brands

As we announced in Part 1, the full survey results, complete with expanded and detailed analysis of each category’s results, will be presented in sections to our All Access SNEWS subscribers over the next few weeks, with this third week focusing on best-selling outdoor outerwear, sportswear and footwear brands.
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Welcome to Part 3 of the 2009 SNEWS® Outdoor Retailer Survey summary, where outdoor specialty retailers get to speak their minds and offer industry observations and commentary on what is great, good, not so good and desperately needs improvement in the industry. The full survey results, complete with expanded and detailed analysis of each category’s results, will be presented in sections to our All Access SNEWS subscribers over the next few weeks, with this week focusing on best-selling outdoor outerwear, sportswear and footwear brands. If you missed last week, click here to read Part 2 of our annual survey, the "2009 Annual SNEWS Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: Top selling brands for camping and backpacking."

Although SNEWS sends the survey to hundreds of outdoor specialty retailers all over the country, this survey is by no means scientific in its approach. We do believe the results are quite representative of the outdoor specialty retail market as a whole, and those surveyed are consistent from year-to-year, so comparing answers from past surveys presents a useful picture of trends, market conditions and retailer moods -- one of the most useful features of this survey. It is very important to remember as you read the results for top-selling brands below that retailers are not predisposed to selecting a brand. They are each presented with a question and a blank. It is also important to note that just because a brand is not listed in this survey does not mean that brand is not selling well. It just means that it was not a top seller in the stores which responded -- either by perception or reality.

OK, enough blather. On with the results:

What are the top-selling men's technical outerwear brands this year?

The North Face – 22%

Kokatat – 12.5%

Mountain Hardwear – 12%

Patagonia – 7.5%*

Marmot – 7.5%*

Arc’Teryx – 5%

Burton – 3.5%

Mammut – 2%*

Cloudveil – 2%*

What are the top-selling women's technical outerwear brands this year?

The North Face – 28%

Kokatat – 13%

Mountain Hardwear – 11.5%

Patagonia – 8%

Marmot – 5.5%

Mammut – 2%*

Arc’Teryx – 2%*

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

Leaping into the No. 2 spot from literally out of nowhere is Kokatat. We suspect this is because our survey garnered a record number of responses this year, with more diverse retailers than ever before. As a result, because Kokatat is a leading paddlesports outerwear brand, among those stores that also sold paddlesports, it was top of mind. No doubt the trend for retailers to reduce SKUs and focus on key brands continued through 2009, and the results are evident here. While The North Face continued as the top brand in both women’s and men’s outerwear, its percentage of votes as No. 1 decreased. Mountain Hardwear gained a few points, and welcome back to Cloudveil in the men’s category. In a nod to the fickle nature of new brands, Rab, which made it into the top listings last year, slipped off in 2009, although it continued to garner a number of best-selling votes.

What are the top-selling men's sportswear brands this year

The North Face – 27%

Patagonia – 15%

Columbia – 4%

Prana – 3%

Volcom – 2%

What are the top-selling women's sportswear brands this year?

The North Face – 22.5%

Patagonia – 12.5%

Prana – 5%*

Horny Toad – 5%*

Lole – 5%*

Isis – 4.5%

Woolrich – 2.5%*

Roxy – 2.5%*

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

Tighter inventories and the very transient nature of fashion trends and designs that work -- and don’t -- mean opportunity for some...and perhaps disappearing sales results for others. Royal Robbins, Mountain Hardwear, Life is Good, Kavu and ExOfficio dropped off the list for 2009, not garnering sufficient votes to make a top-seller list. But do say hello to Woolrich, which with a much stronger women’s line in 2009 moved up onto the list. And, look at Volcom and Roxy, newcomers to the list, and both surf / skate fashion brands. Pretty much everything else remained the same in terms of the expected top brands and their positions in retailer minds. As we said last year, if there is one thing for certain in sportswear, if your fit, colors and styles are not spot on, then your sales will fall spot off.

What are the top-selling men's footwear brands this year?

Keen – 17.5%

Merrell – 10%*

Chaco – 10%*

Vibram – 4.5%

Vasque – 3%

Salomon – 2.5%*

La Sportiva – 2.5%*

Asolo – 2%*

Lowa – 2%*

Teva – 2%*

What are the top-selling women's footwear brands this year?

Keen – 18.5%

Merrell – 14%

Chaco – 10.5%

Dansko – 3.5%*

Vasque – 3.5%*

Vibram – 2.5%

The North Face – 2%*

Reef – 2%*

Salomon – 2%*

Lowa – 2%*

Teva – 2%*

Ugg – 2%*

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

Big surprise for us this year is that Montrail, now in the hands of Mountain Hardwear and realizing a second life, disappeared from the top list after reappearing in 2008. We’re collectively scratching our heads over that one. Patagonia’s disappearance from the top-selling ranks in the women’s category was also a puzzler, though perhaps that result is more indicative of retailers being far more selective with SKU selection and brand diversity. Keen leaps into the top spot, moving Merrell down, which was also surprising, but certainly less so than Montrail disappearing. Retailers wrote in more than once that Keen sold through because of its styling and looks in 2009. Still, Wolverine has reason to smile as two of its brands were seated in the top three spots.

In our final look at the SNEWS Outdoor Retail Survey results for 2009, we'll report on trade show attendance in 2009 – very surprising results – as well as publish numerous answers from our free-thinking questions on social media and greatest business challenges. Look for that report on March 12.

The SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Survey may not be reproduced for redistribution of any kind, in whole or part, including for promotional or sales purposes of any kind, to consumers or the trade, without the written consent of SNEWS. Contact SNEWS at survey@snewsnet.com for reprint details and restrictions.

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