Oct 19, 2011

Outdoor Specialty Store Sales Shine in September

Outdoor Industry Association released its September OIA VantagePointTM Monthly Trend Report, which reveals outdoor product sales in September outperformed the general retail sales market, growing 7.1 percent to $897.6 million. Outdoor Specialty retailers in particular had a lot to smile about, as total sales in the Independent Outdoor and Chain Outdoor specialty channels grew by a combined 15.9 percent to $266.4 million for the month. Year‐to‐date outdoor product sales are up 6.1 percent to $7.0 billion for the eight‐month fiscal retail period running February through September.

“Outdoor product sales were driven by later back‐to‐school shopping this year and by the arrival of fall weather in many parts of the country,” said James Hartford, chief market analyst at The SportsOneSource Group, which manages the OIA VantagePoint point-of-sales reporting system. “Hurricane Irene’s untimely arrival also kept people out of the malls on a key weekend in late August, which shifted some shopping into September.”

Overall retail sales of Outdoor Apparel grew 9.8 percent to $239.0 million during September. Outdoor Raingear (up 18 percent), Outdoor Outerwear (up 16 percent) and Outdoor Sweaters (up 13 percent) were among the monthly category winners in the marketplace. The Independent Outdoor Specialty channel posted a mid‐teens increase in Outdoor Apparel sales for September on the heels of a nearly 20 percent increase in August.

Sales growth for Outdoor Footwear moderated in September from the trends seen over the summer, increasing 17.5 percent to $205.3 million for the period. The Natural/Minimalist trend was the clear driver of this growth. If the Natural/Minimalist sub‐categories were excluded from the trend, Outdoor Footwear sales would have been up just 3.7 percent in September.

Outdoor Hardgoods sales increased just 1.8 percent to $453.3 million in the five‐week fiscal month after significant growth over the summer. Declines in the Sporting Goods and Internet channels offset strong growth in the outdoor specialty channels. Stand-out Hardgoods categories included Lifestyle Daypacks, driven by later back‐to‐school sales this year, and Paddlesports, on the continued strength of the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and Sporting Boats business.

“Looking forward,” said Hartford, “the politicians and media may be talking about the economy, but in the outdoor industry, it’s the weather. The season ahead may be looking brighter even as the weather looks to be a replay of last year’s La Niña. Ugly weather can bring a prettier picture in outdoor retail.”

OIA members can access the OIA VantagePoint™ monthly trend report for September 2011 by logging in to 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.