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January Outdoor Sales Mixed Bag as Retail Prices Plunge, Internet Sales Strong

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BOULDER, CO (March 11th, 2009) – January 2009 retail sales for all core outdoor stores (chain, internet, specialty)* started off the new year on a mixed note, according to the most recent edition of The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group.

According to The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, retail sales for all core outdoor stores (chain, internet, specialty)* gained 4% in dollars ($363,157,003) compared to January 2008 ($350,116,342), with the internet channel realizing a 35% gain in dollar sales while specialty stores (-2%) and chain stores (-8%), logged declines in overall dollars this month.

Internet Sales Continue to Grow
Online sales were very healthy in January. Retail prices plunged across the board as consumers took advantage of bargains and sales; however, the resultant increase in units was more than enough to make up the difference. The channel improved on last January’s dollar sales by double-digits in nearly every category and moved from 21% of total dollars sold last January to 27% this month. Carryover (defined as old and/or discontinued merchandise) sales leapt to record amounts in January, a significant factor in driving prices down and units up for the period.

Category Bright Spots
Although total sales dropped 2% in specialty stores this month, there were many bright spots. Categories with dollar growth in January included packs, climbing gear, winter equipment, hiking boots, winter boots, trail running shoes and multisport shoes. Accessories were especially hot sellers this month, as most equipment, apparel and footwear accessory categories enjoyed healthy growth compared to last January.

In chain stores, sales were driven by good deals and low retail-selling prices. The entire channel was up 5% in unit sales but fell 8% in dollars as plunging retail prices ate away gains from increased volume. Nearly every product category saw retail prices slip significantly from January 2008. Carryover product sales soared in almost every category, moving from 2% of all chain dollar sales last January to 7% this month and contributing to the overall decline in retail prices. The equipment accessory category was the only major product category to gain dollar sales this month, inching up 1%.

Positive Growth in Paddlesports
All paddle product sales from all three channels (specialty, chain, and internet) grew 7% in dollars this month. Compared to last January, specialty stores grew 6% in dollars, chain stores dipped 14% and internet grew 46% off an extremely small base. Boats, paddles and accessories each increased sales in specialty stores this month. As a whole, January is not a significant month for paddlesport sales; it typically accounts for about 2% of each year’s total sales and is traditionally the smallest month for sales. Nonetheless, the positive January growth was a welcome start to the calendar year.


To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

For additional brand growth and brand and model market share reports, please contact Leisure Trends Group at 303.786.7900 x107

*OIA Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.


About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual RendezvousTM, Outdoor University®, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information go to or call 303.444.3353.

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