Winter sports sales rose 12% in units and 10% in dollars to $520 million for the season-to-date period from August through October compared to the same period in 2008, according to the latest Retail Audit Report from SnowSports Industries America.
Accessory sales as a whole have increased from last year, said Tracy Gibbons, co-owner of Sturtevant's, Bellevue, WA. Wider skis continue to make a statement and binding sales, especially with wide brakes, are following along with this trend. Kids product sales are also very strong in all categories.
Alpine ski equipment sales results were flat, with a 4% decrease in units sold offset by a 1% increase in dollars sold. Carryover dollar sales of alpine equipment fell 5% for skis, 19% for boots and 26% for bindings. Snowboard equipment sales were down 11%, while snowboard carryover sales increased 19%. Inventories in specialty shops were about 9% lower overall compared to 2008 levels at the end of October.
The Internet channel grew to capture 31% of the snow sports market. Sales were up 28% in units and 26% in dollars compared to August to October 2008. Equipment enjoyed 10% growth in dollars sold, while apparel and accessories sales grew more than 30% in dollars sold.
Chain store sales were driven primarily by apparel and accessory sales. Apparel sales increased 3%, led by carryover apparel goods that were up more than 20% compared to August through October 2008. The data indicate that chain stores discounted heavily to get customers through the doors.