Q1 Specialty Retail Survey Highlights

Based on forecasts developed in January 2010, at the end of Q1, 31.1% of the specialty retailers that participated in the Board-Trac/BRA Specialty Retail Quarterly Survey exceeded their forecasts; 29.5% were on plan and 39.4% were under forecast.  While this may not sound terrific to some, it is.  Answering the same question asked one year ago, only 14.5% of the retailers had exceeded forecast and 61% were under forecast, a 35.4% positive change.

While expected, Q1 2010 sales compared to the previous quarter, Q4 2009 decreased.  This is a cyclical pattern that has been consistent following the holidays.  However, while sales were down, the majority retailers reported that margins were up.  Thirty-eight percent (38%) of the specialty reported an increase in margins from in Q1 over Q4 09; 27.5% reported a decrease in margins.  This is significant in two ways.  Fewer retailers reported a decrease in margin compared to Q4/Q3 09 and it is significant difference from the 46.4% of the specialty retailers that reported a decrease in margins from Q4 08 to Q1 09.

There are many product categories for specialty retailers to consider when thinking about products to carry.  According to the survey, retailers continue to see skateboard hardgoods and footwear as two of the most important categories for their business.  They also added surf apparel as a third, important category.

To find out more of retailers have to say about product categories, the brands that drive their business, product mix and other relevant issues regarding retailing in action sports, visit