The Monthly Retail Trade Survey, prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau, reported sales in sporting goods stores of $2.01 billion (preliminary) for the most recent reporting month (January), up 2.8% from the $1.96 billion in January 2004. The increase follows a 4.9% increase in December.

The survey, issuing final sales for December with revisions of some earlier months, reported sales in sporting goods stores of $3.91 billion, up 4.9% from the $3.72 billion in December 2003.

Total sales for calendar year 2004 were $29.74 billion, up 8.6% for the 12 months of 2003 versus the 7.5% previously reported. Sporting goods store sales for all of 2003 were $27.38 billion, a 3.8% increase versus 2002.

Among the 28 retail categories in the survey, sporting goods stores’ growth ranked in the top third and exceeded the 7.6% growth rate for all retail sales. The overall retail growth represented the strongest increase since 1999’s 8.4% gain.

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. 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.