March 2011 Outdoor Product Sales Rise 4.5 Percent

OIA VantagePointTM March 2011 report shows outdoor product sales gains have more than doubled than those in broader retail market
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For more information contact:

LaRae Marsik, Outdoor Industry Association, 303.327.3514, lmarsik@outdoorindustry.org

Paul Gagner, The SportsOneSource Group, 303.997.7302, pgagner@sportsonesource.com


OIA VantagePointTM: March 2011 Outdoor Product Sales Rise 4.5 Percent

Outdoor Product Sales Gains More Than Double Those In Broader Retail Market



Boulder, CO (March 18, 2011)
— The outdoor product business outpaced the overall retail market by a wide margin, posting a 4.5 percent sales increase to $774.3 million for the five‐week fiscal month of March ending April 2, 2011. Sales leaders included technical backpacks and hydration systems in Outdoor Hardgoods and most types of Outdoor Outerwear, according to retail point-of-sale data compiled by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint™. OIA VantagePoint tracks product sales identified with specific outdoor activities, such as hiking, climbing, camping, trail running, paddlesports and other active outdoor lifestyle pursuits. Among the nine channels tracked by OIA VantagePoint for outdoor-related product sales, the Internet channel saw its growth trend slow versus recent steep gains, and the weakest trend came in the Discount/Mass channel, where core consumers have been particularly hard hit by higher gas and food prices.

“Winter storms early in the month delayed sales of spring products across much of the country in March,” explained James Hartford, chief market analyst for The SportsOneSource Group, which manages the OIA VantagePoint platform. “Retailers were able to capitalize somewhat from higher late-season inventories in outerwear this year, but the category still represented a small percentage of apparel sales for the period.”

The gains came despite the latest Easter holiday since 1943, which falls nearly three weeks later than in 2010. Economists expected holiday buying to be pushed into April, but it appears that lower unemployment numbers and pent‐up demand for spring apparel may have prompted consumers to start spring shopping earlier than anticipated. The International Council of Shopping Centers, which tracks 29 major retail chains excluding Wal‐Mart, reported that overall retail sales rose two percent for fiscal March — at the high end of expectations but much lower than the growth in outdoor products.

The Outdoor Hardgoods business outpaced the sales trend for the total outdoor product market, posting a 6.7 percent increase for the month to $375.4 million in March. Hardgoods sales were particularly robust in the specialty channel, which rose nearly 20 percent to $89.8 million. Though footwear and apparel fell by more than 15 percent in the specialty channel for the month, and despite a decline in Paddlesports sales to start the season, strong sales of Technical Daypacks, Internal Frame Packs, Hydration Systems and Camping Equipment were reported.

The Outdoor Footwear business will find it challenging to match last year’s highs when barefoot/natural footwear sales began to heat up. Increased competition (such as barefoot knock‐offs at half the price) and broader distribution of the category have shifted more business to running specialty shops, family footwear stores and the Internet. Not surprisingly, average selling prices (ASPs) for Outdoor Footwear dipped 2.1 percent in the consolidated channels tracked by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint in March versus the prior‐year month. ASPs fell 7.5 percent in the Independent Outdoor Specialty channel. In addition, cold and wet weather kept many specialty consumers in ski boots rather than sandals. Despite the challenges, Outdoor Footwear sales rose by 3.7 percent to $160.7 million in fiscal March.

Outdoor Apparel eked out a gain of 1.8 percent to $238.2 million for fiscal March despite flat or declining business in half the channels tracked by OIA VantagePoint. The Independent Outdoor Specialty channel was challenged by a double‐digit decline as late snowfalls may have slowed consumers’ move to spring/summer sportswear.

OIA members can access the OIA VantagePoint™ monthly trend report for March 2011, as well as quarterly and monthly reports for 2010, by logging in to oiavantagepoint.com.

OIA VantagePoint™ is the first and only full market point-of-sale data view built specifically for Outdoor Industry Association members. OIA VantagePoint™ provides comprehensive visibility into the outdoor marketplace by tracking weekly point‐of‐sale data from over 10,000 retail doors and websites carrying outdoor products, including over 350 outdoor specialty locations. In‐depth sales information is available online within five days of the prior week close — a competitive advantage for businesses who can shift critical resources and react quickly to ever-changing consumer preferences.

About Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA provides industry defining resources and support in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business‐to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Ongoing education opportunities and strategic business workshops provided by OIA include the annual Rendezvous®, Outdoor University® sessions, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information about OIA go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

About The SportsOneSource Group

The SportsOneSource Group is a full service market research company delivering solutions through consumer insight research, retail insight research and retail point‐of‐sale trending and analysis. The company provides the most reliable, timely and comprehensive sports and outdoor industry information available in the market today. SportScanInfo is a SportsOneSource technology platform developed to compile, aggregate and disseminate aggregated retail point‐of‐sale information. SportsOneSource also publishes the Sports Executive Weekly and The B.O.S.S. Report executive newsletters, along with the SGB, SGD TEAM Business and SGB Performance print publications and their related online, e‐mail and digital products. For more information about The SportsOneSource Group call 704.987.3450 or go to SportsOneSource.com.

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