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Bicycle Sales Shivered During October

Published November 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN)—Skiers and snowboarders are happy, but bicycle retailers and suppliers may have felt a sales slowdown last month. But outdoor retailers, benefiting from unseasonable cold weather in October, saw an end to an 11-month decline in month-over-month sales.

Outdoor retail sales spiked last month as rain and snow pummeled the nation. The trigger for October’s robust sales, said Jim Spring, president of Leisure Trends Group, was a dramatic change in October weather patterns as well as some pent-up consumer demand.

While statistics on IBD-level bicycle sales for October are non-existent, if weather is any indicator the month’s sales were most likely slow, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

October’s average temperature in the contiguous United States was the third coolest on record, based on data going back to 1895. The average temperature was 50.8 degrees, 4 degrees below the 114-year average. Preliminary data also indicates October was one of the wettest on record with average precipitation across the U.S. reaching 4.15 inches, more than 2 inches above normal for the 100-year span from 1901 to 2000.

All regions, with the exception of the Southeast, had below normal temperatures. Oklahoma recorded its coldest October on record and ranked in the top five for Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Florida was the only state to post above normal temperatures in October, the sixth consecutive month that Florida’s temperature was above the norm. Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana recorded their wettest October, while only Florida, Utah, and Arizona had below normal precipitation.

Two major snowstorms hit the upper Midwest and the western Plains states last month. And the Northwest has enjoyed early-season snows as well with Whistler opening almost two weeks early. By the end of October, 13.6 percent of the nation was under snow cover with Cheyenne, Wyoming, getting 28 inches of fluff, the city’s snowiest October on record.

—Marc Sani

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