Accessories Up 17 Percent

Accessories Sales Forge Ahead of 1999;Early Figures Show November Increase

McLEAN, VA (December 21, 2000) ¿ Sales of snow sports accessories products forged ahead of last year for the early part of the winter season. Specialty store equipment and apparel accessories sales jumped 17 percent to $53 million while accessories sales in chain stores dropped 4 percent to $24 million, according to the SnowSports Industries America’s first Retail Audit of the winter.

Sales of all snow sports products (hard goods, soft goods and accessories) industry-wide were ahead of last year by 1.7 percent to $297 million in sales in the first reporting period (Aug.1-Oct. 31, 2000) of the season compared to $292 million in 1999 and $275 million in 1998. The Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories for the period. This is the first of six Audits that will look at sales through March 31, 2001, the end of the winter season. This report looks at accessories sales at the retail level. Equipment, or hard goods, sales and apparel sales were reported previously.

“The positive upswing in sales for the first part of the season apparently continued into November,” said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, the research firm that prepares the annual Retail Audit for SIA.

Looking at preliminary sales figures, Spring said specialty store sales in November were up 28 percent while chain store sales increased 42 percent. “Keep in mind that in November 1999 we reported sales down 11 percent,” said Spring. “We are comparing a down month in 1999 to a very solid November in 2000. There is nothing that we hear that says sales have slowed in December.” The complete November Audit is scheduled to be released in early January.

“All our sales are strong across the board,” said Mike White, general manager, Hoigaard’s, Minneapolis. “After three marginal to bad winters, you can get skittish about the whole ski program. But this year, our local ski areas were open in mid-November. We have a relatively mature market segment. Our customers are pretty sophisticated and knowledgeable.”

Accessories Move at Specialty Shops

Sales of all products at specialty stores for the period were $226 million, compared to $225 million in 1999, a 0.6 percent increase. In equipment accessories alone, specialty store sales for the period totaled $29 million, up 22 percent compared to 1999. In specific equipment accessories categories: sunglasses were up 34 percent to $6.3 million compared to 1999; goggles dropped 0.89 percent to $1.7 million; helmets topped out at 48 percent to $3.9 million; auto racks carried a 22 percent increase to $9.4 million; and snowshoes fell 27 percent to $358,000.

Apparel accessories at specialty stores increased 11 percent to $24 percent. Keeping things warm were gloves (up 5 percent to $2.5 million) and mittens (up 9 percent to $1.1 million); headwear was up 5 percent to $3.2 million; and turtlenecks gained 18 percent to $1 million.

Apparel Pulls Down Chain Store Sales

All sales at chain stores were $71 million, a 5.5 percent increase over 1999’s $67 million. Chain stores had sales of $69 million for the 1998 period. In apparel accessories last fall, chain store sales were $13 million, down 19 percent compared to 1999. In the categories: mittens showed a 95 percent increase to $272,000 while gloves dropped 22 percent to $868,000; headwear was ahead 7 percent to $1.1 million.

Equipment accessories at the chains saw a 21 percent increase to $11.4 million. In individual categories, helmets had a 122 percent increase to $1 million; auto racks were up 31 percent to $2 million; sunglasses dropped 23 percent to $2.4 million; goggles increased 208 percent to $771,000; and snowshoes fell 63 percent to $431,000.