Leisure Trends' Outdoor RetailTRAK™ reports that July core outdoor retail sales totaled $405M, a solid 7% gain across all three channels and the largest July in at least a decade. Specialty stores, with $159M at retail, increased 5% over July 2009 and were down just 2% from a record July 2008. Core outdoor chain sales jumped 6%, the strongest July performance in at least six years. With $72M in retail sales, a 17% gain, online outdoor retailers saw their biggest July ever.
"Active Americans have embraced close to home, outdoor recreation and family camping and this pushed July's outdoor retail sales to previously unseen highs for the month," states Scott Jaeger, Senior Retail Analyst at Leisure Trends Group. "Yellowstone National Park shattering its July attendance record by over 60,000 visitors and a myriad of other national and state parks reporting significant gains helps explain why core outdoor retail sales grew faster than both general and sporting goods retail* in July."
The footwear category, up 8% in units, 11% in retail selling price and 20% in dollars, is setting registers on fire this year. Year-to-date, footwear sales increased across almost every single category in all three channels. Yet one more sign that more people are hitting the trails: year-to-date hiking boot unit sales leapt a notable 19%.
Campers of all sorts geared up this month, as tent units in all channels increased 14%, packs 7% and mummy bags 6%. Tools, trekking poles, food, mattresses, lights and water filters all jumped in July. Year-to-date, all equipment dollar sales were up 12% with the biggest gains coming from online retailers. Internet sales increased a healthy 22% and accounted for 37% of all equipment dollars sold so far this year.
So far this year, apparel retail sales in all three channels totaled $1.2B, 7% greater than the same period in 2009. Even specialty stores, whose end-July apparel inventories were down a significant 14%, increased total unit and dollar sales 3% and 1%, respectively, this month.
It might be slim pickings heading into the Back-to-School period. At the end of July, specialty retailers had 8% fewer total on-hand units than they did a year ago with sportswear and outerwear inventory dropping 15% and 16%, respectively. Fortunately, inventory for daypacks smaller than 1,500 cubic inches actually inched up 1% and footwear, which has been hot all year, dipped just 2% in on-hand units.
*U.S. Census Bureau