Outdoor Product Sales Surge 10.4 Percent in April


Footwear, Apparel and Hardgoods All Post Solid Gains;
Independent Specialty Store Sales Up 26.3 percent

Boulder, CO — May 20, 2011 – Sales of outdoor products grew a robust 10.4 percent to $710.8 million in the four week fiscal April period that ended April 30. According to retail point-of-sale data from the April 2011 OIA VantagePoint™ Trend Report, Outdoor Footwear led the pack, up 18.1 percent on broader distribution of — and new entrants to — the natural/minimalist categories. Outdoor Hardgoods increased 8.6 percent thanks to impressive sales in specialty channels, where technical backpacks, camping and paddlesports grew strongly. Despite unseasonably wet and cold weather across many parts of the United States, Outdoor Apparel sales, much of which is spring-related wear at this time of year, rose 6.5 percent.

Outdoor Footwear sales rose to $179.6 million largely on the continued strength of the natural/minimalist category. “The success of Barefoot and Minimalist product is proving to be a long-term opportunity and still gaining momentum,” says Merrell USA VP of Sales Steve Peterson, who credits high-quality construction and consumer education in how to use barefoot footwear with Merrell’s growth in this product area. “More than ever, consumers want to know the fundamental attributes of Barefoot, the key features and technologies in properly engineered Barefoot product, and how Barefoot should be introduced into their outdoor activities.” 

After more than a year of meteoric growth, new competitors continue to enter the minimalist fray. An influx of lower‐end “barefoot” product helped to double category sales in the Mall Retailer and Internet/Catalog channels, albeit from a small base. It remains to be seen if — or when — these value offerings start to cannibalize higher‐end product sales in the specialty channels.

In Outdoor Hardgoods, growth leaders included Technical Day Packs, Internal Frame Packs, Hydration Systems, Stove Systems, Sleeping Bags, Tents, Kayaks and Oars. Total sales across all Outdoor Hardgoods grew to $379.8 million with most of the growth coming through the Independent Outdoor Specialty channel. The other channels posted flat sales, with Internet/Catalog and Discount/Mass Retailers down slightly and Sporting Goods Retailers up slightly.  

The Outdoor Apparel business was the most affected by odd weather patterns and the late Easter holiday in April. Nonetheless, sales increased to $151.5 million for the fiscal month. Rising raw materials costs — particularly for cotton — also may have tempered sales growth as apparel manufacturers passed on higher input costs to consumers.

Several sales channels among the nine channels tracked by OIA VantagePoint saw sizable sales gains for outdoor-related product. The Independent Outdoor Specialty channel rang up an increase of 26.3 percent to $134.9 million in outdoor product sales in April.  In that channel, big gains in Hardgoods and Footwear offset sagging Apparel sales. Mall Retailers posted the highest growth percentage for the month, but the gains came off a much smaller base. Internet/Catalog retailers posted 17.1 percent growth in outdoor goods sales in April, marking a re-acceleration of sales following a decline in March.   

Outdoor product sales continued to outpace broader retail market sales, which jumped 8.5 percent in April, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.  ICSC, which tracks 28 major retail chains excluding Wal‐Mart, had forecasted a growth range of 5 to 6 percent for April.

Outdoor Industry Association members can access the OIA VantagePoint monthly trend report for April 2011, as well as prior monthly and quarterly reports, by logging in to oiavantagepoint.com. OIA VantagePoint tracks product sales identified with specific outdoor activities, such as hiking, climbing, camping, trail running, paddlesports and other active outdoor lifestyle pursuits.

OIA VantagePoint is the first and only full market point-of-sale data view built specifically for OIA 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®, and the Capitol Summit. OIA is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information about OIA go to 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 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 SGB Performance print publications and their related online, email and digital products. For more information about The SportsOneSource Group go to SportsOneSource.com or call 704.987.3450.


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