October Sales Down 5.5% for Outdoor Products.

Feeling the impact from the driest, warmest October in 18 years, outdoor product sales dipped 5.5 percent in October as most retailers sat on cold-weather footwear and apparel.
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Feeling the impact from the driest, warmest October in 18 years, outdoor product sales dipped 5.5 percent in October as most retailers sat on cold-weather footwear and apparel. According to retail point-of-sale data compiled by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePointâ„¢, the Official Research of the Outdoor Industryâ„¢, a cold-spell at the end of October helped boost the insulated jacket and winter boot categories somewhat, but could not offset the sharper declines from the first half of the month which impacted the Southwest, Northwest and Rockies regions most dramatically.

Historically a shoulder month that falls between the back-to-school timeframe and the holiday retail selling season, October is commonly less active than those key retail selling periods. Consolidated broader market retail sales data for October 2010 show comp store sales growth for the month represented the smallest gain since April (0.8 percent) as consumer spending trends continue to be extremely conservative and budget-conscious.

Sales through the consolidated outdoor specialty and outdoor chain channels were down more sharply (10.3 percent) than the market as a whole during October, while Internet/catalog saw gains of 12.8 percent. Discount, mass and department store were all up slightly, but all other channels were down during the month resulting in the combined dip. For the outdoor apparel category, department stores showed growth (up 2.5 percent for the month) while outdoor footwear products moved in a positive direction through independent outdoor specialty retailers (up 1.0 percent) and Internet/catalog (up 15.3 percent), with all other outdoor apparel and footwear channels declining during October. Outdoor hardgoods saw a dramatic increase of 26 percent in the Internet/catalog channel, with discount/mass retailers also growing sales, but not as significantly.

“We continue to see a shift in retail channel sales to the Internet and vendor-owned retail,” observed James Hartford, CEO and chief market analyst for The SportsOneSource Group, which manages the OIA VantagePoint platform. “The shift is not necessarily due to price as many would think. Average selling prices are actually rising in these channels as consumers find more top-tier brands available while struggling to find what they need in the inventory-constrained brick ‘n mortar environment.”

For example, last October the average selling price for softshell jackets in the Internet channel was less than all channels except discount mass. This year, average selling prices in the channel put the Internet between independent outdoor specialty and above outdoor chain retailers in the average selling price ranking for softshell jackets. The Internet was the only channel to exhibit an increase in average selling prices in October.

Focusing on product trends, shell and fleece jackets both increased for the month alongside an increase in average selling prices as weather more favorable to outerwear sales started to show up in the latter part of the month. In outdoor footwear, trail running, barefoot and outdoor cross-training were the key gainers for the month. Average selling prices in footwear increased from $84.60 in September to $125.10 in October, driving total sales growth for the overall outdoor specialty business on stronger winter boot sales during the second half of the month.

Reinforcing the impact of weather on the sales totals for outdoor products, November weather patterns thus far have been more seasonal and are helping propel outdoor footwear sales which are up six percent with outdoor apparel sales up 23 percent as of mid-November.

For a more in-depth discussion around October 2010 retail sales affecting outdoor industry businesses and to get a peek at November's figures thus far, OIA will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 18 at 2:00 pm Mountain Time. To register for the webinar, please visit http://www.outdoorindustry.org/vpwebinars.

OIA members can access the OIA VantagePointâ„¢ monthly trend report for October by logging in to http://www.outdoorindustry.org/vantagepoint.

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 http://www.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 Performance Sports Retailer 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 http://www.SportsOneSource.com.

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