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May Outdoor Sales Show Declines Continuing

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Trends in Outdoor Retail Webinar Scheduled for July 15

BOULDER, CO (July 13, 2009) – Retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined (chain, internet, specialty)* declined 7% compared to last May, moving from $448M to $418M, 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 five months of the year totaled $1.8B, down 5% from the same period in 2008.

Outdoor Specialty – Declines Accelerate in May
Specialty store sales declined 8% in units and 9% in dollars this May. Deflationary pressures may be coming into play in as specialty retailers strived to move product and compete against the chain and online channels. So far this year, units have fallen 6%, average retail prices 4% and dollars 10%. Comparing this May to last, both equipment and apparel experienced double-digit dollar declines while equipment accessories and footwear weren’t far behind with single-digit drops. Categories with positive dollar gains this month included dresses (+65%), hiking boots (+9%), multisport shoes (+18%) and energy food (+19%).

Outdoor Chain – Dollar Sales Decline 10%
After a strong showing in April, chain store sales fell 11% in units and 10% in dollars this May. Products that appeal to family and car campers fared relatively well when compared to most equipment and accessory categories. Recreation tent units grew 6% this month while synthetic fill rectangular sleeping bags edged up 4%. Year-to-date, mid-sized packs remained up 4% in units and 10% in dollars. Positively, hiking boots were ahead of the previous YTD period by 7% in units and 10% in dollars.

Outdoor Internet – Units Drop 6% but Dollars Gain 5%
Internet sales totaled $95M this month, sliding 6% in units, jumping 12% in average retail-selling price and gaining 5% in dollars. Internet sales in 2009 have been sporadic at best; up 35% in January on huge carryover sales, down 9% in February, back up 14% in March, down 17% in April and now up 5% in May. Most remarkable is the dramatic increase in average retail-selling prices. Higher retail prices for equipment, equipment accessories and footwear may indicate a drying up of excess merchandise and/or online retailers reducing the amount of low-margined clearance product they are willing to sell. If this is the case, units may be declining but profit per turn could increase.

Paddlesports – Sales Down in All Channels
Core paddlesport stores (specialty, chain, Internet) had $54M in retail sales this May and $139M so far in 2009, dropping 11% and 6%, respectively, against the same period last year. Approximately 41,500 boats were sold for $30M at retail this month, an 11% unit and 16% dollar decline from May 2008. Year-to-date all boat sales slipped 8% and 10% in units and dollars, respectively.

Trends in Outdoor Retail Webinar: Wednesday, July 15
On Wednesday, July 15 at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Leisure Trends Group (LTG) will present for Trends in Outdoor Retail, a live Webinar workshop that will examine existing and emerging trends in all three channels of distribution, just in time to help retailers prepare buying strategies for Outdoor Retailer.

Using the OIA Topline Outdoor Sales data and the online data mining tool, Scott Jaeger, LTG’s senior retail analyst, will cover:

  • Hot categories and subcategories
  • Product and category trends in each channel
  • Appealing to family campers, staycationers, and the done in a day crowd
  • Average retail price trends across all channels
  • How to mine actionable data from the OIA Topline dynamic cube

Trends in Outdoor Retail is free for OIA members and non-members. To register, visit:

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