Swooping Holiday Sales

Swooping Holiday Sales

ThirtyTwo Boots and Burton Mission Bindings Among Hot Sellers This Season

A recent spot poll of retailers around the nation indicates that holiday sales in 2003 were strong and on the rise from previous years. Customers seem to know what they want before even walking into the store, and the sport is growing with or without snowfall. Tracy Veenker, Manager of Cal’s Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon attributes these sales to the economy getting better.  “Our sales over the holidays were up from last year, and we’re definitely happy about that. It’s also been a really good snow year overall,” Veenker says.

In the hardgoods department, Lib Tech and GNU have always been strong at Cal’s Pharmacy. As for trends at Cal’s, customers were more into wearing pro-model gear on their heads than on their feet. “Our pro-model boots didn’t do well, but our pro-model helmets were out of control,” Veenker says. “For boots, ThirtyTwo’s definitely our best selling line. Burton’s heat multiple liners did well, and so did the Mission Greed binding,” says Veenker.

Burton Mission bindings also were a hot seller for Greensector in Tarzana, California. Business Manager Doug Bacik says his store’s holiday sales were excellent and up from last year. Bacik credits this increase to the store’s extensive marketing this season. “We had a couple party promotions with late night sales, radio advertising on local station 97.1, and we passed out fliers to local high schools,” says Bacik. Greensector’s marketing plan turned out to be a huge success and returned the store with great business. The shop completely ran out of Drake bindings and Northwave boots and had to reorder.

As far as trends go, Bacik observed a lot less brand loyalty this season. Though Burton remains a hot-seller in his store, Bacik has noticed more competition for the brand this year. “Other companies are stepping up and making good product. People used to only buy Burton because of the name, but now there are a lot of good companies out there to choose from.”

As for outerwear, 686 is one company that is stepping up and making a name for itself. Nathan Squire, Assistant Manager of BC Surf & Sport in Littleton, Colorado notes that 686 does very well in his store, very close or about equal to Burton for outerwear.

Another brand that sells well at BC Surf & Sport is the Colorado-based Never Summer. “Our Never Summer snowboards did really well. Over Thanksgiving they were on sale and sold really well,” says Squire. In addition to its snowboards, Never Summer clothing is also a hot item at this store. “We always run out of Never Summer clothing, and we get a lot of their stuff,” says Squire.

One trend that was a surprise to Squire this season was the influx of the color pink. “Pink is popular right now for some reason. I don’t really understand why, but it is,” he says. Squire was also baffled by the amount of woven trucker hats moving through his store. Apparently this trend has moved its way west from California and into Colorado.

Up north in Glacier, Washington, Nicholas Walsh, “The Dude”/ manager of Mount Baker Snowboard Shop also attests to an increase in sales this holiday season. “Our holiday sales were real strong and there was lots of snow. Our big push this year was outerwear. Volcom did real well and so did Mission Six,” he says.

ThirtyTwo boots were also a hot seller in Walsh’s shop this season, along with many of the highend bindings, such as Drake. Sessions has a huge following in the Washington shop as well. “We sold through our Sessions gear one-hundred percent and had to reorder. The high-end gore-tex gloves sold well with us,” ss Walsh.

The biggest surprise Walsh noticed this season was not in fashion, but in hardgoods. “Having a little response to Rome was shocking. I was surprised to move two-thirds of the boards we bought before Christmas time,” he says.

The Midwest may not have been blessed with great snow for the past couple of years, but the sales are still on the rise. Rob Wright, owner of F.A. Skates and Snowboards in Arlington Heights, Illinois went lighter on ordering this year due to snow conditions, but still attests to strong sales. “Our sales were up,” he says. “For what we brought in, we cleaned up real well.”

Once again ThirtyTwo’s were the hot boot for the season. “Our ThirtyTwo boots were gone before Christmas. We also had to reorder Ride bindings in the beginning of December,” says Wright.

Shell jackets were the apparel of choice this season at F.A. Skates and Snow, and the least expensive ones sold the best. “We do a lot of cheaper shells and waterproof jackets, such as Volcom and Special Blend,” says Wright.

One of the safest ideas to come out of snowboarding was the local mountain Raging Bull’s decision to make helmets mandatory this season. What does Wright have to say about this new rule? “I think it’s a really good idea,” he says. This, of course, can only help helmet sales in Wright’s store as helmets become as essential piece of equipment for those who ride at this local slope.

Moving over to Minnesota, Freestyle of Duluth (FOD), had better sales than in years past. “We had more snow this year than we have in the last couple of years. It helped us to sell through our leftover snowboards,” says Co-Owner/Manager Ryan Leege.

Burton, Rome, and Forum led the way in snowboard sales at FOD, with ThirtyTwo’s being the top finisher for boots. But in bindings Burton took the cake for top sales. “Our Burton Freestyle and Mission bindings did pretty well. Most people that work here like Burton bindings a lot so that’s what we recommend. It’s also the least expensive binding we have,” says Leege.

Holiday sales were excellent on the east coast as well, according to Sean Milnamow, manager of Blades in Burlington, Massachusetts. Burton was the shop’s top seller for hardgoods this season. “The Burton Custom X went pretty quick. Hails were a big seller, and so were the Sabbath and Sapphire as far as women’s boots go. Our Burton Mission bindings went quickly as well,” says Milnamow.

“Burton’s probably the brand we carry the most of,” Milanmow says. “It has pushed really well for us, but it depends on the store. At some stores Mervin does well. But for our store, it’s Burton.”

Burton was also pushing strong at Alpine Shop in South Burlington, Vermont. “We sold a lot of everything we have Burton: Feather, Troop, Custom. We only carry Burton boots so those did real well,” says Allison Frazier, hardgoods buyer for Alpine. Frazier attribute the stores strong sales to all the snow this season, as well as snowboarding increasing in popularity. In fact, these high sales caused the store to have trouble matching product with demand. “We sold out of our Burton boots and bindings and tried to reorder but we couldn’t because they were sold out,” says Frazier.

Holiday sales were also excellent in Dallastown, Pennsylvania at Uller’s Ski& Board Shop. “Our sales have definitely been up this year even though the snow hasn’t been too good,”says Brett Bastas, snowboard manager/buyer for the store. “The weather got warm after the holidays but it’s starting to get cold now so we’ve been seeing more people in the store,” adds Basta.

Nitro Snowboards were among the top-sellers at Uller’s this season. “We also picked up the Roxy Snowboard (made by Lib/Gnu) this year, and it went pretty quick,” Bastas adds. “As for apparel, Westbeach and Quiksilver were flying out of here,” he says.

The biggest trend Bastas noticed was the early arrival of customers in the preseason. “It seemed like people started to get in here earlier this year, and that was really surprising for us. It’s been a really good year, we’re really picked out right now,” Bastas says.

It appears that Bastas is not the only one whose shop is clean of product as of early January; which only gives further credit to an overall strong response in sales over the holiday season. Remember to keep those fingers crossed for snowfall- an increase in snow can only lead to a stronger boom in sales for the rest of the season and into next year.

he top-sellers at Uller’s this season. “We also picked up the Roxy Snowboard (made by Lib/Gnu) this year, and it went pretty quick,” Bastas adds. “As for apparel, Westbeach and Quiksilver were flying out of here,” he says.

The biggest trend Bastas noticed was the early arrival of customers in the preseason. “It seemed like people started to get in here earlier this year, and that was really surprising for us. It’s been a really good year, we’re really picked out right now,” Bastas says.

It appears that Bastas is not the only one whose shop is clean of product as of early January; which only gives further credit to an overall strong response in sales over the holiday season. Remember to keep those fingers crossed for snowfall- an increase in snow can only lead to a stronger boom in sales for the rest of the season and into next year.