The entire accessories category was up 9% in dollars to $143.6 million through February 2004. As in specialty stores, winter boots were also hot in chains this season. Winter boots (up 85% to $5.7 million), turtlenecks (up 40% to $1.9 million), snowshoes (up 19% to $3 million), base layer (up 19% to $23 million), goggles (up 13% to $10.5 million), headwear (up 8% to $13 million) and gloves (up 6% to $18.3 million) all contributed to a gain in dollars over last season. As in the specialty stores, snow deck/skate and helmet sales were notably down this season, by 41% and 10%, respectively.
INTEGRATED SKI SYSTEMS FORGE AHEAD
Integrated ski systems continued to boom this season in chain stores. Integrated ski systems doubled their sales to $10.3 million this season with a tremendous 102% jump over last season. Average retail prices fell from $433 to $405 comparing this season-to-date to last.
Overall equipment sales (alpine, snowboard, Nordic and telemark) were flat in dollars as compared to last season with sales totaling $135.5 million through February 2004. Alpine equipment sales (including skis, boots, bindings, poles and systems) were flat as well, up 1% in dollars over last season ending February 2004 with $64.7 million in sales.
Alpine skis, excluding integrated systems, fell 16% in dollars, as season-to-date average retail prices fell 4% to $181. Substantial dollar decreases came from ski boards (down 62% to $409,000) and carryover skis (down 33% to $3.4 million). Midfat skis, which made up 41% of all alpine ski units sold, also declined this season falling 19% in dollars over last season.
However, there were some bright spots in the alpine ski category this season over last as chain stores branched out. Fat ski sales spiraled up 82% in dollars to $1.1 million through February 2004. Twintip ski sales rose 36% to $785,000 and carve ski sales increased 32% reaching $1.4 million in sales through February 2004. The average retail price of carve skis jumped from $148 to $220 comparing this season to last. Junior ski units jumped 27%, but lower average retail prices kept the dollar increase moderate.
Alpine boot sales stayed relatively flat, down 1% in dollars over last season. A 23% unit drop in carryover boots helped the categorys average retail price increase from $159 last season to $172 this season. High performance boots saw all the action, up 68% over last season to $7.8 million. The average retail price remained steady at $258 giving them 33% of the boot dollars sold this season. Dollar decreases came from recreation boots (down 49% to $3 million), carryover boots (down 24% to $3.2 million), soft boots (down 17% to $1.1 million) and junior boots (down 4% to $1.3 million).
Stand-alone alpine binding sales fell 8% in dollars over last season totaling $8.1 million in sales through February 2004. DIN 8-11, which accounted for 59% of all bindings sold, declined 17% in dollars while the much smaller DIN 12-14 category shot up 18% in dollars to $2.2 million.
Alpine pole sales were up 2% in dollars over last season to $3.7 million in sales through February 2004. Adult poles (up 30% to $3.2 million) and junior poles (up 14% to $270,000) both saw sales increases over last season. However, a huge 70% drop in carryover pole sales held down growth for the entire alpine pole category.
Junior equipment, as a whole, performed extremely well over last season. Through February 2004, 18,000 junior skis, 19,000 junior boots, 16,000 junior bindings and 16,000 junior poles were sold.
TELEMARK ON THE RISE IN CHAIN AND SPECIALTY STORES
Nordic skiequipment sales (including skis, boots, binding and poles) were up 33% in dollars over last season, totaling $7.2 million in sales through February 2004. Nordic skis (up 31% to $2.9 million), boots (up 42% to $2.7 million) and bindings (up 32% to $965,000) all experienced substantial gains in dollar sales over last season.
Telemark ski equipment (including skis, boots and bindings) performed even better this season with a 63% jump in dollars over last season, ending February 2004 with $1.8 million in sales. At an average retail price of $320 in February 2004, telemark skis shot up 56% over last season up to $615,000. Telemark bindings, at a season-to-date retail price of $110, skyrocketed 97% in dollars over last season.
Combined Nordic and telemark season-to-date sales totaled $9 million in dollars, compared to alpine equipments $64.7 million in sales.
FREESTYLE SNOWBOARD SALES SHOW BIG INCREASE
Snowboard equipment sales did not fare as well in chain stores as they did in specialty stores. Through February 2004, snowboard equipment sales fell 4% in dollars with total sales at $61.7 million.
Snowboard sales increased a slight 2% to $27.1 million. Boot (down 3% to $19.9 million) and binding (down 13% to $14.8 million) sales were both down this season over last. Hybrid and all mountain snowboards were down 35% and 26%, respectively, over last season.
Positive signs came from the 70% jump in sales of freestyle snowboards as the average retail price jumped from $236 last season to $253 this season. Carryover snowboards, which accounted for 40% of all snowboard units sold, were up 13% in dollar sales over last season.
Carryover boots (down 20% to $3.6 million) and bindings (down 27% to $2.1 million) did not fare as well as boards. Neither did step-in boots nor step-in bindings which both experienced substantial declines over last season, 72% and 79% drops, respectively.
WOMENS APPAREL SHOWS STRENGTH
Apparel in chain stores did not perform as well as in the specialty stores. Chain store apparel sales were flat, totaling $172.8 through February 2004.
Womens apparel did show some strong gains in chain stores this season. Womens insulated parkas (up 9% to $13.9 million), womens shell parkas (up 37% to $7.6 million) and womens soft shell parkas (up 450% to $622,000) helped to stabilize the apparel category over last season. Also contributing to apparel sales were bibs, up a surprisingly 278% over last season to $2.8 million, and fleece sales, up 29% to $21.9 million.
Womens apparel also helped drive snowboard apparel sales up 13% over last season to $35.9 million. Womens and junior snowboard tops did very well over last season, up 47% and 14%, respectively.
CHAIN STORE SALES UP SLIGHTLY
Overall sales at chain stores were up 2.9% in dollars to $451.8 million for August 2003 through February 2004 as compared to $439.2 million for the same period last season. “This increase in sales can be attributed to healthy gains in apparel accessories and integrated ski systems,” said Christine Martinez, market research manager for the SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. Unit sales at chain stores tracked 4.1% ahead. Sales for the month of February in chain stores were $73.6 million compared to $67.3 million, an increase of 9%. Unit sales managed an increase of 4.3%.
Overall sales for the entire winter sport market (including specialty and chain stores), increased slightly by 1.4% in dollars to $2.06 billion for August 2003 through February 2004 as compared to $2.03 billion for the same period last season according to the SIA Retail Audit. Unit sales were ahead 4.6%. The SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the fifth report of six that look at sales through March 31, 2004, the end of the winter season.