Strong July 4th Helps Retailers after a Slow June
Outdoor product sales growth slowed in June but sprang to life in early July, thanks in part to hot weather and a well-positioned mid-week holiday. According to the new OIA VantagePoint™ Monthly Trend Report, retail sales of outdoor products grew 3.2 percent to $1.04 billion in the fiscal month that ended June 30, 2012.
The June trend was clearly a disappointment after the market posted an 8.1 percent increase in May. The start of July may prompt some smiles, however. Sales during the first seven days of this month were up in the mid-single-digits — with double-digit gains in outdoor apparel and mid-single-digit growth in outdoor footwear and hardgoods.
“June came in like a lion and went out like a lamb,” said James Hartford, CEO and chief market analyst for The SportsOneSource Group. “June started where May left off, posting solid increases the first two weeks of the month before swinging to a decline the last week of the month.”
Outdoor apparel sales increased 4.9 percent to $194.7 million for the five-week month ended June 30, 2012. Specialty Internet was the biggest driver of apparel sales growth, posting an increase of nearly 25 percent.
Outdoor hardgoods sales increased 3.7 percent to $548.8 million in June versus the prior-year period. Among the biggest percentage growth categories were Kid Carriers, and Technical and Lifestyle Daypacks, which got a nice lift from summer day hiking and, perhaps, early back-to-school shopping.
On the heels of very strong sales growth in May, the outdoor footwear business came back down to earth, posting a 1.0 percent increase to $295.7 million. Sales growth was tepid throughout the month. Technical Hiking, Trail Shoes and Outdoor Casual Footwear were key drivers, while Lightweight Hiking continued to shrink as consumers opted for increasingly lighter technical product or Trail Shoes for the day hike.
Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) members can access the OIA VantagePoint monthly trend report by logging on to outdoorindustry.org/vantagepoint.