Late August Back-To-School Shoppers Lift Outdoor Sales

Final Week Is Early Indication of Back-To-School Strength.

Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association

Boulder, Colo. –-( Outdoor product sales were uneven in August but finished strong in the final week of the month, according to point-of-sale data compiled by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint.

The last week of the fiscal month was the only one that saw gains in all three macro categories: Apparel, Footwear and Hardgoods.

Retail sales of outdoor products were up 2.2 percent to $816.9 million in the four-week fiscal period ended Aug. 25, 2012. Specialty store sales increased 5 percent to $320.5 million, down somewhat from the 7.8 percent growth seen in fiscal July. Independent Outdoor Specialty led the specialty channels with impressive 12.3 percent gains in August.

  • Hardgoods sales increased 4.4 percent to $446 million for the fiscal month, as declines in the Camping categories offset strength in Packs & Bags and double-digit gains in Paddlesports and Trailers & Racks.
  • Footwear sales were up 3.4 percent to $229.8 million. The standout performance came from Surf/Beach Lifestyle products, the deconstructed looks of which have been widely embraced by students.

It was a tough month for Outdoor Apparel, but the final week of the month saw strong growth thanks to back-to-school traffic and the hint of fall in some parts of the United States. Apparel sales declined 6 percent to $141.2 million. Outerwear, Raingear, Sportswear and Active Tops all turned in negative performances for the month.

The outdoor industry has weathered an unusual spring and summer in rather good shape so far. The look ahead, however, is still one of caution as business owners hold their breath through the November elections and consumers hold their noses as gasoline prices approach (or exceed in many states) the important $4 per gallon milestone.

OIA VantagePoint is the first and only full market point-of-sale data platform built specifically for the outdoor industry. OIA VantagePoint monthly trend reports, published on the 15th of every month, provide the broadest and most timely view of outdoor product sales available. Category reports are available at no charge to Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) members and provide comprehensive visibility into the outdoor marketplace by tracking weekly point-of-sale data from more than 10,000 retail doors and websites that carry outdoor products, including nearly 450 outdoor specialty locations. It is the broadest view of both brick-and-mortar and Internet sales of outdoor products available in the market. In-depth sales information is available online within four days of the prior-week close — a competitive advantage for businesses who can shift critical resources and react quickly to ever-changing consumer preferences.

OIA members can log in to the OIA website to access the OIA VantagePoint August Trend Report.

Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to or call 303.444.3353.

The SportsOneSource Group
The SportsOneSource Group is a full service market research company delivering solutions through consumer insight research, retail insight research and retail point-of-sale trending and analysis. The company provides the most reliable, timely and comprehensive sports and outdoor industry information available in the market today. SportScanInfo is a SportsOneSource technology platform developed to compile, aggregate and disseminate aggregated retail point-of-sale information. SportsOneSource also publishes the Sports Executive Weekly and The B.O.S.S. Report executive newsletters, along with the SGB and SGB Performance print publications and their related online, email and digital products. For more information about The SportsOneSource Group call 303.987.3450 or go to