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May Sports Specialty Retail Sales Up

Preliminary RetailTRAK™ data report that May was a positive sales month for specialty sports retailers.

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May Retail Sales Jump

Leisure Trends Group RetailTRAKâ„¢ May 2011 – Retail Sales

Boulder, CO (June 17, 2011) – Preliminary RetailTRAKâ„¢ data report that May was a positive sales month for specialty sports retailers. Compared to May 2010 and looking at total dollars sold at retail: core outdoor stores were up 7%, paddle stores were up 7%, run specialty up 6% and athletic apparel in sporting goods stores was up 8%.

Sales growth was in line with overall US spending this month. According to the US Census Bureau, while US retail sales declined 0.3% from April 2011, representing the first decline in 11 months, they were up 7.7% from May 2010. All sporting goods sales were down 0.4% from April and up 5.5% from May 2010.

Core outdoor sales were approximately $518M at retail gaining 7% overall from May 2010, 6% at outdoor chains, 6% at outdoor specialty and online retailers saw a 13% increase. Footwear and apparel led sales growth in May, with significant increases coming from multisport shoes, trail running shoes and casual shoes. “Minimalist/barefoot styles factored heavily in the growth for both trail running and multisport shoes,” states Retail Analyst Liz Stahura. “We expect to see continued strong sales out of the trail running category, especially with the minimalist products, for the remainder of the warm weather selling season.” In apparel, cool, wet weather across the majority of the US gave a boost to both outerwear and rainwear, up 23% and 22%, respectively, in May dollars sold this year.

Paddle sports sales took off with the snowmelt in the West and above average stream runoff across the country. For the first major month of the summer 2011 paddle season, sales totaled $57M across all three store channels (specialty, chain, internet), with sales growth coming out of brick and mortar specialty stores (+8%) and online retailers (+20%). May growth came from paddles and boats, with both canoes and kayaks posting double digit increases. Stand-up paddleboards started the season with a bang, nearly doubling in sales from last May and bringing in over $2M. Average retail price dropped a significant 26% this May from $1,187 to $878, while unit sales soared over 165%. Stahura believes that the lower entry price points will help retailers sell even more boards this summer. “As the category matures and more and more players enter the market, the prices will naturally settle downward. Already in 2011 there are nearly twice as many players in the paddleboard category as last year at this time.” She notes that over 2,500 boards sold in May 2011 alone, an excellent start to the season. The majority of stand-up paddleboard sales are still coming from the specialty channel, but both chain and internet retailers started the season with significant growth. Specialty retailers ended May with approximately 6,000 boards remaining on the floor.

Run specialty continued an uninterrupted streak of positive momentum for yet another month, posting sales growth of 6% over May 2010. Minimalist shoes, trail running shoes and race shoes were growth leaders at run specialty this month, while apparel and accessories also gained sales against May 2010.

Early June indicators point to continued growth in spite of some economic uncertainty, with many specialty retailers reporting flat to slightly up sales so far in June. LTG Retail Relations Manager, Greg Shoenfeld remarked, “Specialty retailers are seeing growth in some categories so far this summer, but not all. Soft goods such as apparel and footwear are trending up right now, and minimalist footwear is creating significant buzz with the retailers for June sales growth.” Recently released unemployment figures and housing data both showed positive signs for the economy as a whole, and the general mood for specialty sports retailers remains “cautiously optimistic”, according to Shoenfeld.

About Leisure Trends Group – LTG is the leading provider for active sports and lifestyle consumer research, retail market intelligence (retail sales tracking) and integrated CRM/Direct Marketing services. Suppliers, retailers, associations, resorts and companies in the sports, recreation, hospitality, travel and entertainment industries rely on LTG. Leisure Trends Group is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. For more information, contact Julia Day ( or 303-786-7900 x107 or visit