Snow and cold weather are working their magic and opening the wallets of outdoor and running enthusiasts in the United States. After 11 months of month-over- month decreases in the sale of outdoor equipment, apparel and footwear, retailer sales took a huge hike this October compared to October 2008.
Independent specialty stores and chain stores were both up 12% in dollars in October 2009 over 2008 and the Internet climbed 27% based on Point-of-Sale data from over 1,000 retail doors that sell outdoor merchandise gathered by Leisure Trends Group, Boulder.
All store sales increased 15% compared to 2008 and up 24% compared to 2007. Sales for the month were $390 million, a record October for the outdoor industry.
Specialty running stores out paced the outdoor business growing 18% in October compared to October 2008.
“In our experience, when sport and recreation enthusiasts start buying it is the first sign the economy is turning around. It indicates an end of pent-up demand for the 20% of the population that define their lives by running, hiking and getting back to nature,” according to Jim Spring, president of LTG. “The same behavior happened post 9/11 and at the end of the .com debacle in the late nineties. Americans may postpone the purchase of high ticket electronics or automobiles but sooner rather than later they will buy a new parka for winter or new running shoes.”
The trigger that motivates the change in buying is often the weather. October was the third coldest in every state, with the exception of Florida, and wettest ever in the 115 year period of record, according to the National Climatic Data Center.