The National Sporting Goods Association is reporting that the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the Sporting Goods CPI Index at 99.8 for May, down 2.2% versus the May 2002 index. The drop was the same as the April decline. Since its December 1999 peak of negative 5.8%, the Sporting Goods CPI had been gradually moving higher (i.e., less negative), reaching its best showing of a negative 1.4% in June 2001. Since then, it has become increasingly negative. For 2002, the decline averaged 2.6%. The CPI for All Items in May 2003 increased 2.1% from the same month in 2002.

When compared to the CPI for All Items, the CPI for Sporting Goods provides an indicator of the ability to increase consumer prices for sports equipment. An inability to increase prices does not necessarily mean an inability to increase profits. Improved purchasing, inventory management and reductions in operating expenses can improve profitability without pricing increases.

Full comparisons for the last four years are available in the members-only “Research & Statistics” area of the NSGA website.