Flying higher: Outdoor industry notches record sales in 2012

Mother Nature may seem undecided on bringing winter back, but consumers felt good enough to help the outdoor industry notch record sales in December and the full year 2012.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 23-26. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.


Mother Nature may seem undecided on bringing winter back, but consumers felt good enough to help the outdoor industry notch record sales in December and the full year 2012.

Outdoor retail sales rose 6 percent in December to a record $1.1 billion for the holiday month, according to the latest figures from Leisure Trends Group. The rise came largely thanks to a 5 percent increase in average retail sale prices, while unit sales rose just 1 percent. And it was a record full year for the outdoor industry. Sales climbed 5 percent to a record $6.5 billion in 2012, while units sold rose 2 percent.

Apparel and accessories led the gains in December, while footwear sales came in flat. Apparel is the industry’s Superman at the moment, saving the free-falling winter equipment category, down 10 percent in sales and units this month. “Winter gear’s weakness is of particular concern because it comes on top of December 2011’s 24 percent dollar plunge,” Leisure Trends said.

Frigid weather and snow on the ground greeted Outdoor Retailer attendees in Salt Lake City, but it’s been far from a consistent winter.

This late fall/early winter season continued the warm and dry trend, but snow finally arrived to give many a white Christmas, boosting some last-minute sales. Then things got wacky with freezing low temperatures in Southern California, a snowstorm in the Southeast and 50-degree days in New York City in mid-January. By show time, a cold front dipped in, creating the coldest temperatures so far this season.

Outdoor brands and ski resorts need it. Many are just now feeling the negative effects from last year’s weak winter. A week before the show, Columbia Sportswear warned it would miss its previous fourth quarter expectations, with sales declining 5 percent due to the mild start of winter. Similarly, Vail Resorts recently cited a “challenging early season” in a pullback of its profit guidance, despite a 4.3 percent increase in season pass sales.

There is some good news. The overall economy continues to slowly improve, and some outdoor companies said 2012 was their best ever. Brooks Range Mountaineering Equipment reported sales up 40 percent to a record high in 2012, in part due to its early adoption of DownTek water-resistant down products. And that burst of snow right at Christmas seemed to have spurred some consumers to remember winter.

“The fresh powder really helped fill some December lodging vacancies at ski resorts as well as generating buzz and bookings for January and February, ” said Ralf Garrison at Mountain Travel Research Program, which track the market.

There’s still a lot of catch-up.

Expect more cheers at Summer Market, which will benefit from last year’s sunny skies and warmer-than-average temperatures.

--David Clucas

Related

March2013FiguresFeature

Lower temps drive March outdoor sales higher

The cool and snowy start to spring 2013 may be getting on your nerves, but outdoor retailers aren’t complaining. Lower-than-normal temperatures throughout much of the country in March helped drive consumers to buy more cold-weather apparel and hardgoods, boosting overall ...read more

AmerSports_Logo.jpg

Higher apparel, footwear sales save Amer from 4Q wintersports decline

Wintersports sales at Amer Sports, parent to Salomon, Arc’teryx and Atomic, moderated their slide, and a boost in apparel and footwear helped the Winter and Outdoor group report higher sales for the fourth quarter 2012. Amer’s Winter and Outdoor group reported fourth-quarter ...read more

Hibbett_Sports_logo.jpg

Lucky number: Hibbett Sports reports 13th straight quarter of higher same-store sales

Perhaps Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq:HIBB) has a bit of the ‘luck of the Irish’ this St. Patrick’s Day week. On Friday, it reported it’s 13th consecutive quarter of higher same-store sales — something none of its outdoor, fitness and sporting goods peers can claim after last year’s ...read more

PaddlesportsParticipation

Higher paddlesports participation expected to fuel sales

As rivers pick up steam with spring runoff, so is paddlesports participation. That’s the finding of the Outdoor Foundation and Coleman Company, which recently released their Special Report on Paddlesports, providing a detailed look at participation in kayaking, canoeing, ...read more

WinterSports_Sales_Thumb_03.jpg

Record year? Snowsports sales continue to scorch at retail

Following a record single month of $1 billion in snowsports sales in December of 2010, ski and snowboard retail is continuing its blistering pace at the cash register. On Monday, Feb. 28th, 2011, preliminary SIA RetailTRAK data reported that January 2011 sales jumped ...read more

Financials09sm.jpg

Outdoor financials: Columbia sees record 4Q, but is cautious heading into 2012; plus LaCrosse revenue, profit slips

Columbia Sportswear Co. (Nasdaq:COLM) reported record fourth-quarter and full year 2011 earnings, but cautioned that the warm winter and European economic jitters could temper early 2012 results. The Portland, Ore.-based parent of Mountain Hardwear, Sorel and its namesake ...read more

JohnsonOutdoors_Logo.jpg

Johnson Outdoors reports higher 1Q earnings on Jetboil addition

Johnson Outdoors, makers of Eureka outdoor gear and Ocean and Necky kayaks among other outdoor, military and marine products, reported higher earnings for its fiscal 2013 first quarter thanks to its recent Jetboil acquisition and increased sales. Johnson’s outdoor group reported ...read more

NOAAMarch2012Thumb.jpg

Warmest recorded March in U.S. had outdoor retailers scrambling to stock spring goods early

Outdoor retailers rushed to stock their shelves with spring inventory in the midst of what turned out to be the warmest March in the United States on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday that the nation experienced an average temperature ...read more

Outdoor financials: Wolverine Q1 profit up on higher outdoor sales, plus Gander Mountain, Jarden, Crocs

Wolverine Q1 profit up on higher outdoor sales Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell and licensee of Patagonia Footwear, said its first-quarter profit increased 6 percent, aided by global distribution efforts and higher sales from its outdoor shoe division and ...read more