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Sporting Goods Sales in Middle Atlantic Grew Nearly 25% Since 1997

This is the second in a series of analyses of regional data recently released for the U.S. 2002 Census of Retail.

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MOUNT PROSPECT, IL – In the Middle Atlantic states, overall sporting goods store sales grew 24.8% from the 1997 Census versus total U.S. growth of 23.5%. Sales for 2002 in the Middle Atlantic reached $3.3 billion. Of that amount, $1.97 billion moved through full-line sporting goods stores; $1.37 billion, through specialty sport shops.

Although sales in full-line sporting goods stores grew 39% from the 1997 Census, the number of stores declined 4.5% to 873 stores. Sales in specialty sport shops grew 8.6% while the number of shops (1,845) declined 10.3%. This activity is reflected in “Sales per Store” data, $2.3 million (up 46%) in full-line sporting goods stores and $744,000 (up 21%) in specialty sport shops.

“Sales per Employee,” an important measure of personnel productivity, was stronger in the full line channel of distribution. In full-line sporting goods stores, employees generated $155,100 in sales, up 26.6% from the previous Census. In specialty sport shops, employees generated $140,800 in sales (up 13.3%).

Sales in Middle Atlantic athletic footwear stores rose to $1.27 billion between 1997 and 2002, a 38.8% increase. The number of stores (1,010) generating those sales rose 14.4%. Sales per employee rose 5.1%, to $135,300.

“Residents of the Middle Atlantic states spent slightly less than the average American in sporting goods stores and specialty sport shops, but more than the average American in athletic footwear stores,” said NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle. “They represent 13.7% of the U.S. population, but spent 13.4% of the total dollars spent in sporting goods stores and specialty sport shops. In athletic footwear stores, they spent 17.9% of the total dollars.”

Total U.S sales in sporting goods stores, which includes full-line and specialty sports shops, rose to $25.02 billion in 2002 versus $20.04 billion in 1997.

Total U.S. sales growth was stronger in the full-line store segment, up 39% to $12.98 billion in 2002 versus $9.31 billion in 1997. Sales in specialty sports shops rose 12% to $12.05 billion versus $10.73 billion in 1997. In the previous Census of Retail, sales had grown more rapidly in specialty sports shops than in full line stores, 42% versus 35%.

Total U.S sales in athletic footwear stores reached $7.1 billion, a 21.5% increase from the $5.85 billion reported in the 1997 Census. The 1997 Census had shown a 66.5% increase over the previous census (1992).

The U.S. Bureau of the Census conducts the Census of Retail Trade every five years. The data was collected in 2003 for the 2002 calendar year. The first data was released in late 2004 and final data released in late 2005.

The data for full-line sporting goods stores, specialty sport shops and athletic footwear stores been gathered into a special report “Sporting Goods Stores: Sales, Number and Distribution.”

The report, which provides the data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia, aggregates that data for the nine U.S. census regions and finally for the total U.S. Cost of the 57-page report is $95 to NSGA members; $150, to non-members.

Founded in 1929, NSGA’s mission is to help all members profit in a competitive marketplace. The Association organizes and hosts the annual NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit, the sporting goods industry’s premier educational and networking event (Next: May 21-24, 2006, at the Westin LaCantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas).

For more information on NSGA member services, visit the Association home page (; call Rhonda Onuszko at NSGA, (847) 296-6742, Ext. 130; e-mail:; or fax (847) 391-9827.