Cold Temperatures Help Boost October Outdoor Industry Sales

Cold Temperatures Help Boost October Outdoor Industry Sales

Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association

BOULDER, CO –-( Retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined (chain, internet, specialty)* rose 15 percent, compared to last October, moving from $338M to $390M, according to the most recent edition of the Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group. Year-to-date sales (January – October 2009) totaled $3.6B, down 3 percent from the same period a year ago.

October 2009 was the third coldest in 115 years and the wettest on record, according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. The cold, wet weather spurred sales in the outdoor channel, as all outdoor sales increased 15 percent over October 2008. Chain and specialty stores were each up 12 percent for the month, while Internet sales were up 27 percent. Increases were driven by all four product categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel, footwear), with biggest gains coming from apparel and footwear, specifically outerwear, base layer and boots.

Outdoor Specialty
Specialty stores’ dollar sales grew 12 percent compared to October 2008. The cold-weather effect was particularly apparent in specialty stores, as growth in the channel came from winter-appropriate categories such as outerwear, base layer, apparel accessories, winter boots and winter equipment. Typically nearly 63 percent of a typical year’s outerwear sales occur in specialty stores in Q4. October, the first month of Q4 2009, saw all outerwear dollar sales surge 16 percent in units and 23 percent in dollars for a total of $60M, a very positive sign for the remainder of the calendar year. Base layer dollar sales grew 8 percent, winter boots jumped 60 percent and cold-weather apparel accessories such as hats, gloves, socks and leg gaiters each posted double-digit sales gains for the period.

Outdoor Chain
Chain dollar sales were also up 12 percent in October, with a total of $140M for the month. Cold weather appropriate products also sold well in chains this month. Outerwear, base layer, apparel accessories and winter boots each posted double-digit gains over last October. Shoppers may have returned to the chains for cold weather gear, but they left with more than just warm clothes. Packs, hiking boots, trail running shoes, multisport shoes, sportswear and multiple equipment accessory categories all saw healthy sales increases this month as well.

Outdoor Internet
Total internet unit sales increased 6 percent over last October, but average retail-selling price jumped 20 percent, buoying dollar sales up an extremely healthy 27 percent over October 2008. Unlike brick and mortar stores, Internet sales gains came from nearly every category, including equipment which, with $17M in total sales for the month, comfortably outsold equipment in chain and specialty stores. Most major product categories enjoyed double-digit dollar gains this month. Increases were fueled by nearly across the board double-digit jumps in retail-selling price. That double-digit bump in selling-prices, paired with the fact that carryover (old/discontinued or sold below cost) product sales dipped 10 percent in October, suggests that consumers were more willing to purchase new, full-priced items this month, another positive sign moving into the holiday selling season.

Colder than average weather may have been a much-needed shot in the arm for outdoor products, but it did not do paddlesports any favors. Core paddlesport stores (specialty, chain, internet) brought in $13M in October and $315M year-to-date, down 1 percent for October and down 7 percent for the YTD period. Positively, specialty stores, with 83 percent of all paddlesport dollars sold in October, saw plenty of healthy categories for the month. Recreation kayaks gained 36 percent in dollars, whitewater kayaks jumped 42 percent, PFDs 19 percent and helmets 30 percent.

* OIA Outdoor Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.

To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data, read the complete monthly executive summary and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

For additional brand growth and brand and model market share reports, please contact Leisure Trends Group at 303.786.7900 x107

About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous®, Outdoor University® and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information, visit or call 303.444.3353.