McLEAN, VA — Sales of winter sports products from the August to December time period for all stores (specialty and chain) are down 7.0 percent compared to the same period in 2000, according to the Retail Audit. In dollars, that translates to $1.27 billion in sales so far this year compared to $1.36 billion for the same period in 2000. Specialty stores numbers specifically were down 6.5 percent, which translates into $977 million compared to $1.0 billion last season for the the same time period. Sales this year are running ahead of the 1999/2000 season by 10.3 percent in dollars and that was the best snow sports year on record.

According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, the research firm that prepares the annual Retail Audit for SnowSports Industries America (SIA), “Any one who tells you the snow sports industry is not resilient you can walk away from. You don’t need to listen because it isn’t true.” SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. Chain store information will be released separately.

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) in specialty stores was down just slightly by 0.8 percent to $429 million from $433 million in 2000. Alpine gear was down 5.8 percent to $277 million as compared to $294 last year. The bright spots so far this season are Nordic equipment which rose 15.1 percent to $18.3 million and snowboard equipment up 9.0 percent to $134 million in sales. Sales for Nordic equipment in 2000 were $15.9 million while snowboard was $123 million.

Apparel and accessories both saw losses during the period which ending in December, 8.3 percent and 12.6 percent respectively which is a drop from the gains that these categories had seen in the preseason. Sales for apparel tracked at $275 million while accessories were $274 million. Last season sales for apparel were $300 million while accessories were $313 million. The SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the third of six reports that will look at sales through March 31, 2002, the end of the winter season.

Nordic and Snowboard Equipment Hot During the Holidays

Alpine ski sales fell 16.8 percent to $102 million. However, unit sales of alpine skis in the month of December were 39 percent of the total sold so far this season. According to Spring, mid-fat skis keep racking up gains, up 46 percent in units at the end of December. Sell-through is 46 percent compared to 52 percent last year at this time. Fat skis and twin tip skis also saw big gains with an increase of 34 percent and 26.1 percent respectively in dollars. On the other hand, carver ski sales continue to decline, off by 47 percent in units.

Alpine boot sales are down 5.1 percent to $104 million; sport performance boots are staying hot this year by advancing 18.6 percent in dollars, while adult recreation boots had a 33.1 percent gain. However, the high end is slowing this category, with high performance boots down 27 percent in dollars. Bindings are down compared to last year (5.9 percent) to $42.8 million. Poles are down 21.5 percent in sales to $7.7 million.

Nordic equipment has kept ahead of the heat wave. Nordic skis climbed 32.9 percent to $7.7 million followed by bindings (up 4.5 percent to $2.8 million), boots (up 12.6 percent to $6.4 million). The only weak sales in Nordic were in poles, down 19.7 percent to $1.4 million.

Demand for snowboard equipment stayed hot through the holiday season. Snowboards were up 10.8 percent to $64.4 million. Freestyle and Freeride are leading the way, up 27.2 percent and 21.1 percent in dollars respectively. Snowboard boot sales were up 4.9 percent to $39 million and snowboard bindings were up 10.7 percent to $30.5 million.

Vests and Fleece Sell in Warm Weather

The warm weather has not helped apparel sales, parel tops are down 5.4 percent to $156 million. The women’s category is one to watch, with women’s insulated parkas up 8.6 percent to $20.7 million. In addition, shell parkas were off overall by 19.7 percent. The warm weather has helped boost sales of vests up 18.6 percent in dollars and fleece tops, up 3.6 percent in dollars. Now becoming popular again are the stretch suits, which gained 41.8 percent in dollars at $175 average retail. Bottoms are down a staggering 17.1 percent in dollars to $51.4 million. Snowboard apparel was holding steady up 3.0 percent to $57.4 million.

Snowshoes See a Surge

Equipment accessories were up slightly by 0.8 percent to $144 million. However, there were good performers, snowshoes (up 33.9 percent to $10.9 million) and auto racks (up 14.4 percent to $24 million). In addition, a new category this season, snow decks/skates sold almost 56,000 units. All classes of apparel accessories suffered double digit declines. This category was down 23.8 percent to $129.3 million.

Chain Store Sales of Winter Sports Products Slip; Nordic Sees Increases

Chain stores sales were down 8.9 percent for the August through December time period compared to 2000, according to the third Retail Audit for the season. In dollars, that translates to $291 million in sales so far this year compared to $320 million in 2000. The unit sales were even further behind last year (-14.6 percent).

Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group which prepares the annual Retail Audit for SnowSports Industries America (SIA) remains optimistic, “Snow has fallen and we still have two more months of winter.” SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. The SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the third of six reports that will look at sales through March 31, 2002, the end of the winter season.

Chain Store Sales

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was down 14.8 percent to $72.3 million from $84.9 million in 2000. Alpine gear was also down 14.8 percent to $36.2 million as compared to $42.4 million last season. Nordic equipment was a bright spot in a slow selling season at chain stores. Nordic equipment rose 12.9 percent to $5.0 million compared to 2000, when sales were $4.4 million. Snowboard equipment tracked 18.1 percent behind or $31.1 million in sales as compared to $38 million last season.

Both apparel and accessories saw losses at chain stores during the August through December time period, down 3.6 percent and 10.3 percent respectively. Sales for apparel were $122 million while accessories were $97 million. Last season sales for apparel were $127 million while accessories were $108 million.

Nordic Sales Surge

Alpine ski sales fell 13.2 percent to $15.3 million, however, units sold increased by 6.6 percent. Mid fat, fat and carry over (average retail $98.50) were all ahead of the 2000 numbers.

Both alpine boot and binding sales slipped. Boots dropped 21.8 percent to $12.3 million. Boot sales have been battered by a decline in high performance boots, down 69.8 percent in units. In addition, bindings fell 10.8 percent to $6.3 million, however, units were up 5.4 percent. The gains were accounted for by selling slightly more than 24,000 carry over bindings, up 85 percent. Poles are down 7.2 percent to $1.8 million.

One of the bright spots in hard goods is the increase in sales of Nordic ski equipment. Even without much snow, Nordic skis climbed 5.5 percent to $1.9 million followed by bindings (up 4.9 percent to $710,167), boots (up 25.9 percent to $2.0 million) and poles (up 9.4 percent to $457,254).

Snowboard equipment sales cooled off for the first time in many seasons at chain stores. Snowboard sales were down 22.4 percent in dollars to $14.1 million. All categories were down except for Freestyle boards, which were up 16.0 percent in units. Snowboard boot sales were down 14.6 percent to $9.9 million. In addition, snowboard bindings were down 13.7 percent to $7.1 million. Snow decks/skates were a hot product during the holiday season, with almost 10,000 units sold so far, selling for an average of $52.

Vests, Fleece Tops and Sweaters Stay Strong in Warmer Weather

Even though apparel tops were down 7.6 percent in dollars, there are some categories to watch. Women’s and junior’s shell parkas were hot in chain stores, up 73.1 percent and 81.0 percent respectively. With the weather staying warm, vests (up 9.6 percent in dollars,) fleece tops (up 16.9 percent in dollars) and sweaters (up 10.2 percent in dollars) posted strong numbers.

Bottoms did well in chain stores, up 12.4 percent to $23.5 million. Shell waist pants (up 1.5 percent in dollars), insulated waist (up 8.0 percent in dollars), stretch waist (up 13.5 percent in dollars), fleece waist (up 36.4 percent in dollars) and junior bottoms (up 41.8 percent in dollars) all registered gains. Snowboard apparel was up slightly 1.2 percent to $21 million with units charging ahead 14.4 percent. Snowboard bottoms bloomed with an increase of 23.2 percent in dollars. The average selling price was $60.

Accessories Business Dries Up

The accessories business slowed in December. Equipment accessories were just slightly down 1.9 percent to $39.8 million. However some categories made gains, goggles (up 10.3 percent to $7 million), auto racks (up 27.1 percent to $5.4 million), snowshoes (up 2.6 percent to 2.4 million) and helmets (up 1.3 percent to $3.9 million).

Apparel accessories had a tough time in December. This category was down 15.3 percent to $57 million. The only category that saw any type of dollar gain was winter boots, up 18.8 percent to $3.5 million., which were up 16.0 percent in units. Snowboard boot sales were down 14.6 percent to $9.9 million. In addition, snowboard bindings were down 13.7 percent to $7.1 million. Snow decks/skates were a hot product during the holiday season, with almost 10,000 units sold so far, selling for an average of $52.

Vests, Fleece Tops and Sweaters Stay Strong in Warmer Weather

Even though apparel tops were down 7.6 percent in dollars, there are some categories to watch. Women’s and junior’s shell parkas were hot in chain stores, up 73.1 percent and 81.0 percent respectively. With the weather staying warm, vests (up 9.6 percent in dollars,) fleece tops (up 16.9 percent in dollars) and sweaters (up 10.2 percent in dollars) posted strong numbers.

Bottoms did well in chain stores, up 12.4 percent to $23.5 million. Shell waist pants (up 1.5 percent in dollars), insulated waist (up 8.0 percent in dollars), stretch waist (up 13.5 percent in dollars), fleece waist (up 36.4 percent in dollars) and junior bottoms (up 41.8 percent in dollars) all registered gains. Snowboard apparel was up slightly 1.2 percent to $21 million with units charging ahead 14.4 percent. Snowboard bottoms bloomed with an increase of 23.2 percent in dollars. The average selling price was $60.

Accessories Business Dries Up

The accessories business slowed in December. Equipment accessories were just slightly down 1.9 percent to $39.8 million. However some categories made gains, goggles (up 10.3 percent to $7 million), auto racks (up 27.1 percent to $5.4 million), snowshoes (up 2.6 percent to 2.4 million) and helmets (up 1.3 percent to $3.9 million).

Apparel accessories had a tough time in December. This category was down 15.3 percent to $57 million. The only category that saw any type of dollar gain was winter boots, up 18.8 percent to $3.5 million.