Eagle Creek, along with the entire travel industry, has been affected
by the events and aftermath of Sept. 11, and a spokesman says business
will be off slightly through the end of the year. As a precaution,
Eagle Creek has temporarily laid of a few employees in shipping,
manufacturing and materials handling, which varies seasonally.
Still, the company is faring better than most of the luggage industry,
thanks in large part to the fact they have strong ties to the outdoor
industry retail community.
"Outdoor retailers have fared better then luggage retailers by catering
to more recreational travelers, adventure travelers, as well as
traditional travelers," Ricky Schlesinger, executive vice president of
Eagle Creek and a Travel Goods Association board member told SNEWSÂ®.
The luggage industry had reported retail sales decreases of 10-15
percent, even before Sept. 11. September numbers appear to be worse. As
a result of travel disruptions and cancellations, the industry predicts
a 20-percent decline the fourth quarter, but expects improvement in the
first quarter of next year.
"The reports and trends for consumer buying is that travelers are
looking for more recreational products, casual products for car travel,
and carry on bags to avoid long check-in lines," Schlesinger said.
And those needs play to Eagle Creek's product strengths.
Eagle Creek still appears to be leading the travel category in the
outdoor industry and that position will only get stronger as a result
of the current economic climate. During times of consolidation and
economic trimming, what typically happens is the big guys get bigger
while those on the fringe who have been fighting to get shelf space
have a much harder time staying on the shelf.