Among the vast amount of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau is retail sales by month; within that data is an estimate of monthly sales in sporting goods stores. Because of differing methodologies, the data will not be identical with other estimates. but because the methodology is consistent, it is worth viewing for its trend lines.

The Monthly Retail Trade Survey reported sales in sporting goods stores of $2.13 billion (preliminary) for the most recent reporting month (October), up 9.3% from the $1.95 billion in October 2003. The increase follows a 9% increase in September.

Year-to-date sales through October were $22.72 billion, up 8% from the first 10 months of 2003. Sporting goods store sales for all of 2003 were $26.82 billion, a 1.5% decline versus 2002.

“The estimated annual sales for sporting goods stores in the U.S. Census Bureau Monthly Retail Trade is consistent with sporting goods sales reported in the NSGA study ‘The Sporting Goods Market,’ a fact that pleases NSGA,” said NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates are based on data from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Annual Retail Trade Survey, and administrative records and have been adjusted using results of the most recent economic census.