Outdoor Industry Posts Positive Sales in August

Core outdoor retailers have been able to see the silver lining in a soft economy so far this year as sales continue to grow in a tough retail landscape.

Core outdoor retailers have been able to see the silver lining in a soft economy so far this year as sales continue to grow in a tough retail landscape. August sales in all three channels (specialty, chain, internet)* totaled $346M, 12% above August 2007, according to the most recent edition of The Outdoor Topline Report, produced for Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) by the Leisure Trends Group.

The relatively cheap and convenient outdoor vacation remained appealing to core outdoor shoppers into August. Tents and camping accessories continued to build on previous months’ gains with $11M and $46M in respective dollar sales this August. Tents increased 18% in units and 21% in dollars from last year, while the camp accessory category (comprised of items such as stoves, sleeping pads, lights and water purification) increased 9% in August units and 12% in dollars. Other related categories also saw gains, including food, instruments, hands-on hydration, shell outerwear tops and hiking boots.

Are increased sales of smaller cars creating a bigger demand for sport racks? August sport rack sales reached $13M in August and increased over $2M or 21% from August 2007. Largest increases were seen in chain and internet stores. Year to date dollar sales increased as well. As SUV sales tumble and compact cars become more and more popular, these increases may continue.

Other categories with August growth included the small pack category, which enjoyed a healthy back-to-school season and sportswear, which continued to see growth in most categories – especially in women’s and juniors’ styles, as the family-friendly trend in outdoor recreation continued to gain traction.

Breaking down the August sales by store channel, outdoor chain store sales totaled $169M this month, gaining 13% in units and 14% in dollars compared to the same month last year. Outdoor specialty stores sold $116M, a 3% increase over August 2007. Unit sales gained 2% for the period while average retail prices increased 1%. The internet channel brought in $61M in August, increasing sales by 32% in units and 28% in dollars compared to August 2007.

The paddle industry also enjoyed positive sales growth in August. All paddle product sales from all three channels (specialty, chain, internet) totaled $43M in August, up 15% from an under-performing August 2007. Unit sales increased 13% for the same period. Looking at the January to August YTD period, all paddlesport sales remained even in dollars and edged up 1% in units. All boat sales brought in $23.5M this August, gaining 11% and 13% over August 2007. In year-to-date sales, boats dropped 1% in both units and dollars. Kayaks gained 7% and 11% in units and dollars, respectively, compared to August 2007 but lost 5% in units and 2% in dollars so far this year.

“With sales at some of the nation’s best-known retailers falling by double digits in September and a rapid slowdown in consumer spending not seen since the nation’s last deep recession in the early 1980s, it remains to be seen how long the outdoor industry will continue to realize steady growth, but the outlook remains optimistic,” commented Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA. "During earlier recessions, the industry slowed to single-digit growth and then led the return quickly to double-digit growth.”

To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

For additional brand growth and brand and model market share reports, please contact Leisure Trends Group at 303.786.7900 x107 (http://www.leisuretrends.com).

*OIA Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.


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 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous™, Outdoor University®, 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 go to http://www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.