Snowboard Apparel Sales Up 49% In Chains, Down 12% In Specialty Stores

McLEAN, VA (June 12, 2001) ¿ For the 2000-01 winter season, all snow sports apparel sales at retail were $691 million, reports SnowSports Industries America, the non-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products, in its final Retail Audit of the winter.

Sales of snow sports products remained steady at $490 million in March, the last month of the 2001 selling season, and the industry recorded its third best sales year ever with $2.2 billion in sales, which was seven percent behind last year.

Unusually high sales in February and March 2000 ($814 million) pushed last season sales to an all-time high of $2.4 billion, well above the $2.21 billion recorded in 1999.

This is the sixth and final Audit of the season which tracks retail sales from August 1, 2000 through March 31, 2001. This report specifically looks at apparel sales at the retail level. Equipment and accessory sales were reported separately.

Specialty Stores Apparel Sales Drop

“The average retail price for apparel was up but unit sales sagged 22 percent in all apparel,” said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, the research firm that prepares the annual Retail Audit for SIA. “There simply was not enough inventory to fit. Only 21 percent of alpine tops were left hanging on April 1.” ( For details on the entire 2000-2001 sales scenario, see release titled “Snow Sports Product Inventory at all Time Low; Overall Sales Third Highest Ever.”)

Sales of all products at specialty stores for the year were $1.7 billion, a nine percent drop compared to winter 2000. In 1999, total specialty stores sales were also $1.7 billion. In apparel alone, specialty store sales were $477 million, down 17 percent from 2000′s $575 million and less than 1999′s $524 million. In specific categories: alpine tops were $246 million, a fall of 19 percent; alpine bottoms $114 million, down 19 percent; snowboard apparel $85 million, down 12 percent; snowboard tops $41 million, down 19 percent; and snowboard bottoms $36 million, down 10 percent.

The only two categories that showed positive sales at specialty stores compared to last year were junior snowboard bottoms at $4 million in sales, a 37 percent increase, and alpine bibs, $18 million in sales for a six percent rise. “Our apparel sales were probably flat,” said Adam Garman, sales manager of the Racer’s Edge, Breckenridge, CO. “We had issues with stock that was shipped late, and we couldn’t get any more as the season went on.”

“Only 12 percent of snowboard bottoms were on the shelf at the end of March and the price of low inventory was a drop in unit sales of 5.5 percent,” said Spring. “Snowboard apparel was 18 percent of both the units and dollars of all apparel sold. That’s a little under one in five pieces.”

Chain Store Apparel Sales Inch Upward

All sales at chain stores were $537 million, up one percent compared to winter 2000. Chain store apparel sales were $214 million, up five percent. In the categories: alpine tops were $137 million, up five percent; alpine bottoms $43 million, down eight percent; snowboard apparel $29 million, up 49 percent; snowboard tops $13 million, up 35 percent; and snowboard bottoms $9 million, up 17 percent.

“Alpine bottoms did not fare well,” said Spring. “They slipped 12 percent in units and eight percent in dollars. All new merchandise advanced in units but the lack of close-outs cost the chains dearly. Old merchandise sales topped 45 percent even at an average retail of $37.”

Parkas did well at the chains for the year. Insulated parkas were up 25 percent to $58 million and shell parkas increased 26 percent to $33 million.

“It was a great year for snowboard apparel,” said Spring. “The average retail was $79. Unit sales soared upward by 71 percent and dollars 49 percent. The close-out market was very strong at $59 average retail.”

Resort Shop Sales Increase

SSnow and cold weather brought sales to resort shops. This season, resort shops accounted for 20 percent of total industry sales, up from 15 percent in 2000. “Apparel made the difference,” said Spring. “Resort shop sales of alpine tops, bottoms and suits, as well as snowboard apparel, all outpaced the previous season.”

“Our apparel was strong,” said Mike Owen, owner of the Ski Barn, Slatyfork, WV. “And that really ties into what the conditions were at the resorts.” Owen’s four stores in West Virginia are all close to or within a resort. “All the retail and resorts in the Southeast had a good year. We’re projecting a great season next year.”