Overall sales for the entire winter sport market, including specialty and chain stores, were up 6% in dollars to $2.2 billion for the August 2005 through February 2006 period, compared to $2.1 billion reported last year, according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. Unit sales were up 7%. Sales at chain stores were up 7% compared to last season. In dollars, that translates to $496.6 million in sales compared to $464.4 million for the same period last season. Unit sales were up from last season 11%.
“The new year brought warm weather and rain to most of the Midwest and East but a strong early season and incredible December left many chain stores out of stock in many categories,” said Christine Martinez, market research manager for SIA, the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. 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, 2006, the end of the winter season.
Chain store apparel sales continue the season on a positive note with an 8% dollar increase and season-to-date sales reaching $196.2 million. Apparel top sales spiked 12% in dollars this season over last.
Insulated parkas (up 14%), softshell parkas (up 79%), shell parkas (up 10%), fleece – includes vests (up 24%) and vests – no fleece (up 71%) all experienced dollar increases as compared to last season. Womens insulated parkas shot up 25% in dollars and finished February with 11,000 more units sold than mens insulated parkas — which also grew a solid 13% in dollars. Womens shells, 34% of all shell units sold this season, jumped 17% in dollars.
Apparel suits and insulated waist pants (22% of all bottom dollars sold through February) are also drawing increased interest with dollar gains of 8% and 30%, respectively. Shell waist pants, the largest category with 29% of all bottom dollars sold, increased 3% in dollars while softshell waist pants jumped 142% over last season.
As in the specialty stores, junior apparel is showing improvement in chain stores this season over last. Sales of junior softshell parkas, junior shell parkas, junior suits and junior bottoms all experienced dollar increases as compared to the August through February period last season.
Snowboard tops climbed 4% in dollars with sales totaling $18.8 million. In dollars, mens increased 8%, womens remained even and juniors slid 1%. Snowboard bottoms showed a slight 5% decline as compared to last August through February. Womens bottoms, with 78,000 units sold (5,000 fewer units than mens) jumped 12% in dollars.
The entire accessories category grew a considerable 12% this season over last. Apparel accessories brought in $107.5 million in sales thus far this season, a 13% increase over last season. Winter boots (up 12%), gloves (up 7%), mitts (up 3%), base layer (up 11%) and headwear (up 3%), specifically, saw category dollar inclines. Equipment accessories brought in $56.9 million in sales so far this season, a 12% increase over last season. Goggles (up 19%), sunglasses (up 14%), auto racks (up 14%), technical day packs (up 3%), luggage (up 13%), wax (up 30%) and snowboard accessories (up 13%) managed to have dollar boosts.
Through February, snowboard equipment (including snowboards, boots and bindings) sales totaled $70.0 million, a 9% increase over the same period last season and $9 million more than alpine equipment sales this season-to-date.
Snowboard sales gained 6% over last season. All mountain boards were down 4% in dollars while freestyle boards, accounting for 24% of all board dollars sold this season (up from 20%), jumped 27% in dollars. Freeride boards, the largest category with 42% of all units sold this season, managed a 16% gain in dollars this season over last.
Sales of snowboard boots grew 9% with sales reaching $23.3 million through the end of February. Snowboard bindings managed a 16% dollar increase and sales of $17.5 million. Carryover binding sales, up 15% in dollars, accounted for 20% of all binding units sold.
Retailers did not have a lot of snowboard equipment left over to sell this season as carryover snowboard and boot sales each declined 20% and 11%, respectively, in dollars. So far this season, carryover snowboards accounted for 17% of all snowboard dollars sold, down from 22% for the same period in 2005.
Overall equipment sales (alpine, snowboard, Nordic, Telemark and Randonee/AT) were flat in dollars as compared to last season with season-to-date sales totaling $136.0 million. Alpine equipment sales (including skis, systems, boots, bindings and poles) were down 5% in dollars as compared to last season ending February with $61.2 million in sales.
Integrated system sales continue to grow in the chain stores totaling $12.7 million through the end of February, an increase of 5% in dollars when comparing this August to February period to the same period a year ago.
Add alpine skis to integrated systems and total ski sales increased 9% in units. Alpine skis, excluding integrated systems, decreased 9% in dollars, with a total of $14.5 million in sales. Fat skis (up 19%) and twintip skis (up 119%) each saw dollar increases as compared to the same period last season.
Through February, all carryover ski sales increased 22% in dollars and accounted for 42% of all ski units sold. Compare that to the same period in 2005 where all carryover skis accounted for 30% of all units sold.
From August February of this season, alpine boots decreased 9% in dollars with a total of $23.6 million in sales. Junior boots are showing sales growth over last season, up 69%. In this August – February period, carryover boots accounted for 29% of all boot units sold, up from 18% at this time last season.
Stand-alone binding sales are also down (10%) in dollars over last season, with season-to-date sales reaching $6.3 million. DIN 1-7 (down 72%), DIN 8-11 (down 9%), DIN 12-14 (down 7%) and juniors (down 34%) showed dollar decreases this season over last.
Unlike the other alpine categories, alpine pole sales jumped 24% over the same period last season, reaching $4.0 million in season-to-date sales. Adult pole (up 33%) sales contributed to the category performance.
Nordic ski equipment sales (including skis, boots, bindings and poles) dropped considerably this season over last, down 47% in dollars and totaling $3.2 million in sales. Nordic skis (down 50%), boots (down 46%) bindings (down 49%) and poles (down 40%) all experienced losses in dollar sales over last season.
Telemark ski equipment (including skis, boots and bindings) dollars were up 3% ending February with $1.3 million in sales. Telemark skis managed a 14% boost in dollar sales this season over last.