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Declines Ease in April Outdoor Sales

Published June 14, 2009

BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Retail sales for outdoor stores grew 2 percent compared to last April, moving from $339 million to $347 million, according to the most recent edition of The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group. Sales for the first four months of the year totaled $1.4 billion, down 5 percent from the same period in 2008.

“The April topline numbers showing retail sales growth for core outdoor stores support the data from retailers we are receiving and from other retailers that state that the declines are slowing. Customers seem to be returning and starting to spend,” said Ann Obenchain, OIA vice president, marketing and member services.

“We’ll know a whole lot more after the May numbers come in as then we have a holiday behind us and we can better gauge consumer habits for the remainder of the summer.”

The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, which tracks chain, specialty and Internet sales at outdoor retailers, may indicate sales trends at bike specialty retailers.

According to the April report, outdoor chain stores saw shoppers return with sales surging 20 percent in units and 18 percent in dollars for the month. Every major product category (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear) and most subcategories gained ground. Products that appeal to families and car campers fared especially well.

In outdoor specialty stores, April declines were not as severe as in past months, as total sales fell 1 percent in units and 4 percent in dollars compared to April 2008. So far this year, specialty unit sales declined 6 percent and dollars fell 10 percent. Major product categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear) saw single-digit declines compared to last April. Bright spots for the month included synthetic sleeping bags, medium-sized packs, climbing gear, multisport shoes, hiking boots and various equipment accessory categories.

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