Boulder, CO — March 14, 2011 – The new retail fiscal year kicked off optimistically, with sales of outdoor products up 5.2 percent to $655.6 million in the four-week period ending February 26, 2011. Outdoor Apparel and Outdoor Footwear both showed gains in early February that moderated by month’s end as consumers started to make the switch to spring/summer merchandise in many parts of the country, 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 or other active outdoor lifestyle pursuits. Out of the nine channels tracked by OIA VantagePoint for outdoor-related product sales, the strongest February growth came out of Department Stores, driven by strong year‐over‐year Apparel sales, and the Internet, which again posted near‐20 percent growth. Though February traditionally represents just a small portion of total annual outdoor product sales, respectable February sales growth may brighten the outlook for retailers hoping that sustained economic progress will drive gains throughout the rest of 2011.
Outdoor Apparel sales grew by 8.6 percent to $298.1 million during the month of February. Outdoor Outerwear took a larger-than-expected piece of the Outdoor Apparel pie this year after February 2010 Outdoor Outerwear sales were stifled by weaker inventory positions. In the Independent Outdoor Specialty channel, retailers had more Outdoor Outerwear inventory on hand to sell this year as Mother Nature delivered another winter wallop in early February. Retailers are optimistic that rising consumer confidence, which hit a three-year high in February, combined with the solid February retail numbers, may indicate a good selling season ahead.
Outdoor Footwear started the retail fiscal month of February with a bang but fizzled late as rising temperatures pushed consumers toward spring and summer products. The result was a 3.8 percent decline in average selling prices for the period due to sharply rising sales of Outdoor Sandals and other lower‐priced categories which offset the more modest gains seen in boot categories. Overall, Outdoor Footwear sales at retail were up 6.1 percent to $137.0 million while unit sales grew 7.6 percent for the period.
The Outdoor Hardgoods category was flat for the retail fiscal month of February, posting growth of only 0.6 percent to $220.5 million. Lifestyle Packs & Bags and Trailers & Racks were the standout categories for the month, experiencing gains both in terms of sales and category share during the month. The Internet/Catalog channel was a key channel for the Outdoor Hardgoods segment posting growth of 14.8 percent for the four-week period. All other channels had low‐single‐digit gains for the month.
Of the nine channels tracked by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint™, the Department Store channel showed the largest increase in outdoor product sales for the month, thanks to full-price sales on early spring products, the clearance of what was left of winter merchandise and shoppers returning to stores after several closed days in January. Internet sales also trended well above the total market with sales growing 19.6 percent in outdoor product categories.
“February is the first month of the quarter and fiscal year for most retailers and traditionally one of the year’s smallest periods in terms of overall sales,” said James Hartford, chief market analyst at The SportsOneSource Group, which manages the OIA VantagePoint platform. “But the month is significant because it gives retailers a bead on just what kind of demand — and price acceptance — there may be for their spring and summer merchandise. Consumers seem to be willing to spend, but predictions of higher prices will be closely watched as the year progresses. We’ve had an optimistic beginning.”
OIA members can access the OIA VantagePoint™ monthly trend report for February 2011, as well as quarterly and monthly reports for 2010, by logging in to 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 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 www.SportsOneSource.com.