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OIA Outdoor Topline Report for August: Soft Sales

OIA Outdoor Topline Report for Augusut: Outdoor sales soft, upward movement in certain climbing, camping, footwear and energy food categories

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August Outdoor Sales Soft

Upward Movement in Certain Climbing, Camping, Footwear and Energy Food Categories

BOULDER, CO (October 7, 2009) – Retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined (chain, internet, specialty)* declined six percent compared to last August, moving from $346M to $325M, according to the most recent edition of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group. Select equipment, accessory, outerwear and footwear categories continued positive momentum in August. Year-to-date sales (January – August 2009) totaled $2.9B, down just five percent from the same period a year ago.

Although sales were soft overall in August, several categories continued upward movement. A renewed interest in camping and outdoor vacations did not slow in August, as many National Parks continued to see record attendance. This trend was helpful to outdoor stores, as backpacking tents, medium sized packs (2,500 – 4,000 cubic inches), climbing gear, trekking poles and multiple camp accessory categories all outsold August 2008. Footwear was on the top of consumers’ minds as well, with hiking boots and multisport shoes managing to outperform 2008 again this month. Finally, energy food maintained its momentum in 2009, growing 20 percent in August dollar sales.

Outdoor Specialty

Specialty stores lost eight percent in total dollar sales compared to August 2008, with all four major product categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear) losing ground. It was not all bad news, however; certain categories have sold well in 2009 and continued to do so in August. Strong categories were centered on practicality and mobility this month as recreation tents, energy food, hiking boots, multisport shoes and trail running shoes saw the healthiest sales.

Outdoor Chain

Total sales were down seven percent in chains for the month of August. Sales trends were similar to specialty stores, with healthiest growth coming from hiking boots, multisport shoes, trail runners and energy food. Chain stores also saw multiple apparel categories increase sales as short sleeved shirts, sleeveless shirts, dresses, skirts and insulated outerwear tops all outsold August 2008. Women were responsible for all of the gains in insulated top sales, as well as in the dress and skirt categories, while men’s products fueled growth in the short sleeved shirt and sleeveless shirt categories.

Outdoor Internet

Similar to July, total internet dollar sales were flat in August as units slid nine percent for the period while retail prices were 10 percent higher than last year. Increased hard good sales balanced out losses in apparel and footwear in August. Both equipment and equipment accessories gained dollar sales, assisted by double-digit increases in average retail selling prices. Equipment dollar sales growth was fueled by tents, sleeping bags, medium and large packs and climbing gear. Growth in the equipment accessory category was buoyed by energy food, trekking poles, camp accessories, instruments and luggage. Unlike their brick and mortar counterparts, online retailers did not sell as many hiking boots this month as in August 2008. However, the increased popularity of multisport shoes carried over into the online realm.


Paddlesports stores have seen very few silver linings in 2009. Core paddlesport stores (specialty, chain, internet) brought in $37.5M in August and $276M year-to-date, down 13 and nine percent, respectively, for both periods. In August, losses were felt across the board, as all store channels and essentially all product categories declined. With over 80 percent of a typical year’s sales complete at the end of August, the paddle industry will have a difficult time regaining lost ground in the remainder of 2009.

OIA Outdoor Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.


To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data, read the complete monthly executive summary and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

For additional brand growth and brand and model market share reports, please contact Leisure Trends Group at 303.786.7900 x107


About Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous®, Outdoor University® and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information, visit or call 303.444.3353.