September Outdoor Product Sales Stymied by Tough Comps

Continued Strength Seen in Hardgoods as Apparel Struggles.

Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association

Boulder, Colo. –-( Outdoor product sales were mostly up in September even as tough comparisons against last year held down sales growth, according to point-of-sale data compiled by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint.

Overall, outdoor product sales rose just 1.4 percent to $928.0 million. A solid month for Hardgoods was offset by weakness in Apparel, which struggled to comp against the business generated out of Hurricane Irene’s jaunt up the East Coast in late August 2011.

“In line with last year, we again saw later back-to-school shopping in 2012, but September this year did not see the early arrival of fall weather seen in 2011,” explained James Hartford, CEO and chief market analyst at The SportsOneSource Group, which manages the OIA VantagePoint platform.

“Making comparisons against last September even more difficult was the consumer shopping that shifted from August to September last year after the hurricane interfered with Labor Day weekend plans in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.”

Outdoor product sales fell 5.3 percent in the Specialty Retailer strata. The decline represented a sharp contrast from the mid-single-digit growth trend in August. Within Specialty retail, only the Specialty Internet channel showed growth during fiscal September, in contrast to Specialty brick-and-mortar store sales of outdoor products, which fell 7.2 percent.

Footwear eked out a small increase in September as a weaker Specialty brick-and-mortar business offset solid double-digit gains in the Specialty Internet channel. Mall Retailers, however, experienced the biggest downside impact due to sharp declines in the Barefoot Running category. Outdoor Footwear sales were up just 1.4 percent to $257.2 million.

Hardgoods sales increased 6.7 percent to $448.2 million as double-digit growth in Paddlesports, Hydration, Outdoor Electronics and very strong growth in both Technical and Lifestyle Daypacks offset a small decline in Camping.

It was more of the same for the Outdoor Apparel as sales declined 7.7 percent to $222.6 million in fiscal September. Outerwear (by far the largest Apparel segment for the month) matched its percentage decrease from August, although sales volume more than doubled versus the month prior.

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 by the fifteenth 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 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.

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