BOSTON, MA (BRAIN)—Despite a feeble economy and a very wet summer with only three days without rain in June, Boston retailers reported sales that were only slightly down this season to visitors on the final day of the three-day Boston Dealer Tour.
Anthony Farina, second-generation owner of Farina’s, said sales are down by around 5 percent year-to-date. He said he kicked off the season with strong sales in April and May, but that early momentum was ruined by the worst June on record. “We lost two weeks at the end of June and we haven’t been able to make it up,” Farina said. He’s scaled back on merchandise and bikes, particularly above $3,000, but remains optimistic for next year. And he hopes that the specialty power equipment he sells to supplement bike sales will carry him through to next season. If it’s a snowy winter, he could sell a lot of snow blowers.
Tom Henry, who owns the four-store Landry’s Bicycles chain with his brother Peter and Peter’s wife Jeanne, was down this year for the first time in 10 years. For its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, its sales were off 5 percent. But, Henry said, Landry’s increased its margin by 2 points to offset some of that shortfall. And it climbed out from a scary 25 percent sales decline in the first quarter following the financial fallout in New York and Boston. Henry feels the recession hit Boston early and he is cautiously optimistic the city will rebound by next season. “We’re projecting to get back to 2008 fiscal level,” he said.
At International Bicycle Center, manager Craig Gaulzetti said despite the economic downturn, it has increased sales in its Boston location. He credits growth to putting more emphasis on serving the community and turning the service department around. He said that’s resulted in a double-digit increase in service business, including labor and parts. As members of the local community ride more for transportation, the need for maintenance and repair is growing. “Riding in Boston every day can be tough on bikes,” he said.