According to stores on the ActionWatch Retail Panel who have been reporting for at least a year, the lowest sales declines of 2009 to date were in July. It is encouraging that declines in the second quarter were lower than in the first, and now the first month of the third quarter was better than any of the previous months of the year.
Overall sales of all product categories tracked by ActionWatch were down 13.8% in July compared to the same month last year (see table below). This was a big improvement over June’s comp sales. Apparel experienced one of the best improvements compared to the prior month’s comp sales although it still has not broken out of double-digit declines yet this year.
Wetsuit comp sales have been very erratic this year, but July was one of the category’s better months with a sales decline of less than 4% compared to the prior year, which also made wetsuits the best performing category in July by this measurement. In contrast, accessories had the worst performance in July with sales down 24.3% compared to the prior year.
Looking down to the class level, woven shirts had a strong July with sales up over 6% compared to last year. Men’s/boys’ boardshort sales were also slightly up compared to last year. Skirt sales were up dramatically yet again in July while the dress and swimwear classes were down single digits.