Sales growth trends of outdoor product at retail moderated a bit during the six-week Holiday selling period through January 1, 2011 versus the very strong trends seen in November 2010.
The sales results, tracked weekly through the OIA VantagePoint retail point-of-sale reporting system, indicate that retail sales for the period that started the week of Thanksgiving and ended on New Years Day were up in the mid to high-single-digits versus a high-single-digit increase in the November period. The last week of November overlaps both periods. The trend was affected by December sales gains that came in a bit lighter than many expected after such a strong November period. December outdoor product sales were up 4.8% to just over $2.0 billion for the five-week retail fiscal month in the channels tracked by SportScanInfo, which powers the OIA VantagePoint platform.
The increase for the Holiday period was led by outdoor outerwear and outdoor activewear, the two largest outdoor apparel macro categories, and pac boots, performance trail running, outdoor crosstraining and barefoot footwear products. In the outerwear segment, a strong double-digit increase for the season was paced by insulated jackets, fleece jackets and softshell jackets. In activewear, growth was led by both long-sleeve and short sleeve yoga/fitness tops and pants. In sportswear, long-sleeve woven tops led all other categories in growth percentage for the six-week period.
Lifestyle daypacks and kayaks led the hardgoods categories in growth rate for the Holiday season. The snow sports business overall got a nice boost, up in mid-single-digits for the six-week period, with a strong double-digit increase in AT product sales, significantly outpacing the growth rate in the much larger alpine business. Snowboard sales were up at nearly twice the rate as the alpine business.
“The 2010 Holiday season got a lift from a mix of gift purchases and weather-related personal purchases,” said James Hartford, chief market analyst for The SportsOneSource Group, which manages OIA VantagePoint. “Unfortunately, consumers took advantage of deals early in the season and did not keep spending at the same rate throughout December. Comparisons were also a bit tougher in December than in November due to weather.”