ActionWatch Releases Back to School Specialty Retail Sales Reports

ActionWatch reports that August comparable sales are generally up for the specialty retailers participating on their panel, which is a good indicator for specialty action sports retailers everywhere. The ladies apparel and footwear market, accessories and hardgoods all performed relatively well. For the full article, see http://business.transworld.net/48882/features/mens-and-womens-august-apparel-comps-fare-better-in-core-shops/?cmpid=enews1011 In addition, national retail sales results for September were positive for both specialty and department stores. For the full story, please visit...

ActionWatch Reports Aggregated Sales Increases in Transworld Business

It isn’t time to throw caution to the wind for specialty action sport retailers quite yet but ActionWatch was pleased to report positive sales increases in the majority of product classes they track including apparel, accessories, hardgoods and wetsuits for the month of March. The only exception was footwear, which declined in sales minus sub-category sandals, which showed marked improvement. To see coverage of the ActionWatch Same Store Year-Over-Year report, visit...

Action Sport Retail Sales Appear to Have Bottomed Out Earlier this Year

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...

Comp Sales in Core Shops Up

According to ActionWatch, and as reported in Transworld Business, core stores on the ActionWatch Retail Panel saw lower comp sales declines in May than they experienced in the first quarter. Although the declines were slightly greater than in April, May is an important indicator month because it did not contain any shifted holidays (April included Easter this year while March had Easter last year). While we cannot confirm with certainty that the core retail channel has found a bottom, May’s numbers provide increasing evidence that this may be the case. Sales for all the product categories tracked by ActionWatch were down 15.2% in May 2009 compared to May 2008 . As in April, Apparel was again the best performing category with sales that were down only 13.5% compared to last year. The worst performing category was Accessories which experienced a comparative sales decline of nearly 20%. Skirts had large comp sales increases again in May making the class an increasingly meaningful product class for core retailers. While skirt sales are still significantly lower than sales of dresses, skirt sales were actually higher than those of pants or denim classes for the female gender in May. For the male gender, the Pants class (all non-denim pants) had a strong month in May with a 17% sales increase over last year. Retailers can also be happy to see a reduction in comp sales declines for the Hardgoods category. At -15%, May provided the best year-over-year sales numbers for hardgoods we have seen so far this year. – Cary...

ActionWatch Update

As posted in Transworld Business, the ActionWatch Retail Panel (same-store set) reported apparel sales were 23% lower in Q1 2009 compared to last year’s first quarter. However, the average inventory level in Q1 2009 was almost 8% higher than it was in the previous year. While all categories tracked showed decreased sales for the period, apparel was the only category that also had increased inventory levels. That is, retailers on the panel seem to be managing inventory levels of their other categories more closely to sales patterns. What does this mean for the second quarter? Unless we see a big turnaround in sales (which is unlikely), many retailers will need to apply more discounts to turn their old inventory fast enough to be able to replace it with fresh goods. Of course, the discounts will probably be combined with lowered orders from suppliers, but we’ve already been hearing about that from the industry’s public companies. Not everything is bleak. April same-store sales for the core shops on the ActionWatch Retail Panel showed the best year-over-year numbers we’ve seen so far in 2009. After two months of being down more than 19%, it was a relief to be down only 14% in April 2009 compared to last year. Apparel showed the best improvement with a sales decrease of only 10% compared to being down almost 25% in the previous month. Also, retailers’ margins on apparel sales have steadily improved over the last three months although April’s 46% apparel margin was still two points lower than last year. When drilling down into apparel classes, we find boardshorts sales were actually up...