BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Core Outdoor retail sales surged 27 percent this past February.
Preliminary Leisure Trends RetailTRAK data show that not only did sales rebound from a miserable month last year, they exceeded February 2008 by a solid 5 percent. Those explosive gains came out of multiple categories and from all over the country. Specialty store sales jumped 25 percent, beating February 2008 by 1 percent. Core outdoor chains smashed the previous two February numbers by 30 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Online sales came in 31 percent greater over last February and 19 percent over February 2008. Growth was systemic and across the board as equipment, accessories, apparel and footwear all saw double digit gains in each of the channels.
Cold temps and better snowfall helped. The South, which shivered its way through February, experienced especially impressive gains. Said one southern retailer, "Feb was huge. No special sales and yes the weather definitely helped. So it was not just the skiers that were buying, everyone was buying." That sentiment was echoed across the country as all outerwear sales jumped 26 percent, base layer 27 percent, apparel accessories 49 percent. Handwear popped 58 percent, socks 46 percent, and headwear 40 percent. Winter boot sales grew another 82 percent and hiking boots 50 percent over February 2008.
Profits also grew as increased demand let retailers to keep prices up and margins strong. In specialty stores this February, average retail-selling prices increased 5 percent in which pushed margins up a healthy 9 percent. Retail prices increased 5 percent in chains, the highest in at least four years and prices online edged up another 2 percent.
Bicycle specific data wasn't available, according to Leisure Trends.