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Winter Sports Market Rose 1.9% In 2004-05 Season

MAY 11, 2005 -- Overall sales for the entire winter sport market (including specialty and chain stores) were up 1.9% in dollars to $2.25 billion for the August 2004 through March 2005 period, compared to $2.20 billion reported for the same period last year, according to the SnowSports Industries America Retail Audit.

Unit sales were down 7.8%. Sales at specialty ski and snowboard shops were up 1.5% compared to last season. In dollars, that translates to $1.74 billion in sales compared to $1.71 billion for the same period last season. Unit sales were down from last season 3.3%.

Sales at chain stores were up 3.5% compared to last season. In dollars, that translates to $509.5 million in sales compared to $492.2 million for the same period last season. Unit sales were down from last season 17.8%. "Soaring ski system sales and modest snowboard apparel sales contributed to chain stores coming out slightly ahead this season over last," said Christine Martinez, market research manager for SIA. The SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the final report of six that looks at sales through March 31, 2005, the end of the winter season.

"Specialty store sales were especially strong in the month of March, topping March's dollar sales last season by 29%. Strong March numbers and solid carryover sales prompted industry dollar sales to come out on top of last year," said Martinez.

Specialty-Store Sales

Overall equipment sales (alpine, snowboard, Nordic, Telemark and Randonee/AT) were down 2% in dollars as compared to last season with sales reaching $628.8 million through March 2005. In specialty stores, alpine equipment (including skis, ski systems, boots, bindings and poles) sales decreased 1% in dollars this season over last.

Alpine skis, excluding integrated systems, fell 14% in dollars over last season, ending the season with $106.7 million in sales. Comparing this March to last, all ski sales fell 2% in dollars.

At a season-to-date average retail price of $354, twin tip ski sales continue to show growth, up 26% in dollars and reaching $7.9 million in sales for the period of August 2004-March 2005. Last year at this time, twin tips retailed for $375. At the end of March 2005, there were approximately 12,000 units remaining in retail inventory.

Due to most manufacturers widening their carve skis, sales jumped 65% in dollars this season, after double-digit losses last season. (Leisure Trends Group has changed the carver max width definition to 69mm to reflect the wider carve skis that are being produced. Midfat skis are defined as those with waist widths between 70mm and 79mm).

Sales of fat skis decreased 13% while midfat skis declined 49% in dollars, when comparing this season to the same August to March period in 2004. Despite last season's strong start, junior ski sales continue to decline this season, with a 15% drop in dollar sales.

All alpine carryover ski sales increased a substantial 39% in dollars. The average retail selling price increased from $233 last March to $251 this March.

By the end of March, total alpine boot sales were flat in dollars ($138.4 million in sales) as average retail prices moved from $252 last March to $273 this March. High performance boot dollars increased 14% and accounted for 44% of all boots sold through March. Sport performance boots, 30% of all boots sold, fell 2%. Recreation boots and soft boots suffered 15% and 44% dollar losses, respectively. Carryover boots, however, managed to gain 4% in dollar sales. By the end of March, alpine boots were 64% sold-through.

The growth of integrated systems has resulted in a decline in sales of stand-alone bindings. Sales were down 20% in dollars as compared to last season, with season-to-date sales totaling $35.7 million. Similar to junior ski sales, junior alpine binding sales also dropped (down 26% in dollars over last season). Carryover bindings, however, saw a healthy 22% dollar increase this season over last.

Alpine poles fell 5% in dollars this season over last. Adult and junior poles lost 8% and 9% in dollars respectively, but carryover dollars increased 26%.

Integrated ski system sales jumped 31% in dollars when comparing this August to March period to the same period a year ago. Integrated ski systems had double-digit growth in both specialty and chain stores, clearly stealing sales from non-integrated alpine skis.

So far this season, integrated systems are 75% sold through, and retailers had 56,900 remaining pairs to sell. At the end of this March, 49% of the integrated ski system units sold were midfats, 46% were carvers, 3% juniors and 3% fat skis.

Telemark ski equipment growth slowed down in March. Sales were down 3% reaching $6.6 million at the end of March and the category was 60% sold-through. Telemark ski sales fell 7% in dollars as the season-to-date average retail price for Telemark skis increased from $347 to $387. Telemark boots managed a 2% increase while telemark bindings fell 4%.

The Nordic categories ended the season slightly down as compared to last season. The Nordic ski equipment category fell 4% in dollars this season over last. Nordic skis (down 4% with $14.7 million in sales), bindings (down 4% with $5.0 million in sales) and poles (down 22% with $2.7 million in sales) all experienced dollar declines as well.

Snowboard equipment sales (including snowboards, boots and bindings) were down 3% in dollars with a total of $200.7 million in sales. Snowboards (down 5% with $92.2 million in sales) and boots (down 6% with $58.0 million in sales) experienced dollar decreases while bindings ($50.5 million in sales) inched up 3% in sales this season over last.

All mountain boards were down 10% with sales at $9.8 million by the end of March. The average retail price for an all mountain board fell from $242 to $236. Freestyle board sales remained flat in dollars and accounted for 38% of all boards sold through March. Average retail prices edged up from $297 last season to $300 this season. Freeride boards dipped 3% in dollars. At the end of March, all snowboards were 66% sold-through. Snowboard carryover sales increased 1% in dollars this season-to-date.

Step-in boots and bindings continued their decline this season with 21% and 76% drops in dollar sales, respectively, over last season. Non step-in boot sales also fell 7%. Carryover boots and bindings managed to gain dollars, 13% and 18%, respectively.

Snowboard apparel sales followed the trend of snowboard equipment and dropped 8% in dollars this season over last, ending March with $84.7 million in sales. Snowboard tops slid 16% in dollars while snowboard bottoms fell 8% in dollars. Snowboard apparel carryover sales jumped 34% in dollars. Carryover units accounted for 17% of all units sold.

After a strong start last year, junior snowboard apparel lost steam. Junior top and bottom dollars sank 33% and 21%, respectively.

Specialty apparel sales (including tops, bottoms, suits and snowboard) were up 6% in dollars with season-to-date sales totaling $546.4 million. At a season-to-date average retail price of $188, insulated parka sales rose 13% in dollars. At the end of March, insulated parkas were 81% sold-through. Soft shell parka sales slowed down after nearly triple-digit growth in the past two seasons. Sales still managed to jump 15% in dollars as average retail prices slipped from $192 to $180. Soft shells continue to roll with healthy increases, especially as more manufacturers offer a soft shell selection in their lines. Soft shells were 70% sold-through by the end of March. After a tough season last year, shell parka sales ended the season slightly down (2%) as compared to last. Accounting for 8% of all shell units sold this season, junior shells shot up 50% in dollars. Vest and fleece sales continue to be impressive, up 42% and 11%, respectively, over last season.

Carryover tops and bottoms both showed healthy increases over last season, up 74% and 44%, respectively. At the end of March, all apparel was 76% sold-through.

The accessories category in specialty stores showed a slight 1% increase in dollars over the same period last season with sales reaching $562.1 million for the current season. Equipment accessories decreased 2% due to hefty dollar drops from snow decks/skates (down 47%) and snowshoes (down 28%).

Apparel accessories saw sales increase 3% for August through March of this season over last. Winter boots continue to perform well with sales up 31% reaching season-to-date sales of $19.2 million. However, dollar declines in headwear (down 3% with sales at $42.8 million), gloves (down 10% with sales at $48.4 million) and mitts (down 3% with sales at $18.8 million.

Chain-Store Sales

Overall equipment sales (alpine, snowboard, Nordic, Telemark and Randonee/AT) were up 2% in dollars as compared to last season with season-to-date sales totaling $149.7 million. Alpine equipment sales (including skis, systems, boots, bindings and poles) were up 2% as compared to last season ending March 2005 with $72.5 million in sales.

Alpine skis, excluding integrated systems, fell 15% in dollars as integrated ski systems rose 30% in dollars over last season. This March, the average retail price for an integrated system was $323, up from $290 in March 2004. Add alpine skis to integrated ski systems and total ski dollar sales fell 0.4% this season.

Though still a small category, fat ski sales jumped 10% in dollars. Season-to-date average retail prices for carve skis moved from $215 last season to $292 this season. The result was a 45% jump in dollars. Leisure Trends Group has changed the carver max width definition to 69mm, reflecting the wider carver skis that are being produced.

From August-March of this season, alpine boots picked up 12% in dollars thanks to higher retail prices this season over last. High performance boots performed well with $8.5 million in sales, an increase of 11% over last season. Recreation boots ($163 average retail) grew 42% in dollars while sport performance boots, 27% of all boot units sold this season, were up 8% in dollars. Junior boot sales sank 22%.

All stand-alone binding sales fell 13% in dollars over last season, with season-to-date sales reaching $7.8 million. In dollars, the DIN 8-11 category decreased 7%; DIN 12-14 slid 30%; and juniors were flat.

Alpine pole sales were down 10% over last season, reaching $3.6 million in season-to-date sales. Adult pole (down 10%) and junior pole (down 24%) sales contributed to the category performance.

Nordic ski equipment sales (including skis, boots, bindings and poles) dropped in March, down 22% in dollars over last season, totaling $6.0 million in season-to-date sales. Nordic skis, at a $109 average retail price, (down 20%), boots (down 33%) and poles (down 5%) all experienced losses in dollar sales over last season.

Telemark ski equipment (including skis, boots and bindings) dollars also showed a decrease, down 31%, ending March 2005 with $1.4 million in sales. Telemark ski, boot and binding sales fell 33%, 32% and 25%, respectively, this season over last.

Through March 2005, snowboard equipment sales were up 5% in dollars as compared to last season with total sales reaching $69.2 million. Snowboard sales gained 3% over last season as average retail prices jumped. This March, the average retail selling price for a snowboard was $159, up from $137 in March 2004. Units of snowboard boots and bindings also fell; however, dollar sales managed small increases, 8% and 6%, respectively. All mountain boards, at an average retail price of $187, grew 12% in dollars while freestyle boards, at an average retail price of $236, jumped 5% in dollars. Freeride boards, accounting for 28% of all board units sold this season, managed a 5% gain in dollars. Season-to-date average retail price increased from $227 to $259.

Retailers did not have a lot of boards left over to sell this season as carryover snowboard sales declined 3% in dollars. Carryover boots and carryover bindings, however, managed to increase in sales, up 14% and 15%, respectively.

Snowboard apparel did manage to make some small gains in chain stores, up 8% over last season to $40.1 million. Women drove snowboard top sales with 24% dollar increases compared to the men's 8% dollar decrease. Snowboard bottoms were up 15% this season over last.

Chain-store apparel sales rose 6% in dollars, with season-to-date sales reaching $199.8 million. The average retail price for an apparel item rose from $69 to $81 comparing this August-March period to the same period last season.

Insulated parkas (up 5%), soft shell parkas (up 120%), fleece (up 30%), vests (up 83%) and soft shell waist pants (up 66%) all experienced dollar increases as compared to last season. Season-to-date, soft shell parkas accounted for 5% of all apparel top dollars sold. Apparel suits, bibs and sweaters did not fare as well, with sales down 47%, 24% and 19%, respectively.

Apparel accessories performed well, with $103.0 million in sales thus far this season, a 6% increase over last season. As in specialty stores, winter boots were again hot in the chain stores this season. Winter boots (up 93%) and base layer (up 23%) drove category dollar growth. Except for sunglasses (up 8% in dollars), auto racks (up 18% in dollars) and snowshoes (up 4% in dollars), most equipment accessory categories were down in the double digits. As a result, the equipment accessory category fell 5% behind last season's dollars for the same period. Thanks in part to apparel accessories, the entire accessories category was up 2% in dollars with sales at $159.9 million through March 2005.




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Categories
Sporting goods industry
Specialty retailers
Retail chains
Footwear
Accessories

Companies
Specialty
SnowSports Industries America Retail Audit
Leisure Trends Group
Freeride
Snowboards

Concepts
average retail
average retail price
season-to-date sales
ski sales
chain stores

People
Christine Martinez





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