Overall September Outdoor Sales Down, Increases in Equipment

Retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined declined 4 percent compared to last September, moving from $350M to $336M, according to the most recent edition of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report.

Overall September Outdoor Sales Down, Equipment Sales at Specialty Post Strong Increases

BOULDER, CO (November 4, 2009) – Retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined (chain, internet, specialty)* declined 4 percent compared to last September, moving from $350M to $336M, according to the most recent edition of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group. Select equipment, accessory, outerwear and footwear categories continued their positive momentum in September. Year-to-date sales (January – September 2009) totaled $3.2B, down 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

Labor Day fell on September 7th this year. That later date pushed the entire Labor Day Weekend, and the associated retail sales, into the month of September. The traditional Labor Day Weekend sales boost was captured in September’s Point of Sale data, not August’s as it was in 2008. Combined, August and September sales totaled $661M, a 5 percent decline from the same two-month period a year ago. All three channels saw slight declines for the combined August/September period.

Outdoor Specialty

With that Labor Day Weekend bump, specialty stores’ dollar sales grew 3 percent compared to September 2008. Equipment, equipment accessories and footwear all had healthy gains. In dollars, sleeping bags increased 11 percent, tents 19 percent, and packs 13 percent. Equipment accessories performed well in September with mattresses, cookware, coolers, first aid kits, and camp furniture all having significant double-digit gains. In dollars, multisport shoes surged 60 percent and hiking boots gained 15 percent.

Outdoor Chain

Chain dollar sales were down 9 percent in September with declines in each of the four major product categories. There were bright spots, however. Several sportswear categories performed well with short-sleeved shirts, sleeveless shirts, dresses and skirts/skorts all outperforming September 2008. In footwear, winter boots, casual boots and multisport shoes turned substantial gains. Energy food continued to light up the registers.

Outdoor Internet

Total internet unit sales were down 12 percent in September but the 10 percent jump in average retail prices kept dollar declines to just 3 percent. Sleeping bags and climbing gear both grew in dollars this September. All equipment accessory dollars grew 8 percent on the strength of luggage, instruments, eyewear, mattresses, water purification, stoves and other miscellaneous camping accessories. The “cash for clunkers” program may have played a role in the 22 percent jump in sport rack dollars this month. Bright spots in apparel included insulated tops, shell bottoms, dresses and base layer. Hiking boots jumped a healthy 31 percent in units and 45 percent in dollars.


Core paddlesport stores (specialty, chain, internet) brought in $26M in September and $302M year-to-date, up 2 percent for September but still down 8 percent for the YTD period. Positively, boat sales did perk up in September; no doubt assisted by the shifting Labor Day Holiday. In all channels, recreation kayak sales increased 12 percent in units and 15 percent in dollars compared to September 2008. Those gains, however, were not enough to erase the year-to-date 11 percent unit and 5 percent dollar declines for the category.

OIA Outdoor 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.


To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data, read the complete monthly executive summary 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 www.leisuretrends.com.


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, visit www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.