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New England '97-'02 SG Sales Did Not Keep Pace With US Growth

FEBRUARY 03, 2006 -- In New England, overall sporting goods store sales grew 22.5% from '97 to '02 versus total US growth of 25%. Sales for '02 in New England reached $1.53 billion. Of that amount, $707 million moved through full-line sporting goods stores; $827.9 million, through specialty sport shops. This is based on an NSGA analysis of the '02 Census of Retail that was published by the US Bureau of the Census which pubishes its report every five years.

Although sales in full-line sporting goods stores in New England grew 40% from the '97 Census, the number of stores grew less than 7% to 453 stores. Sales in specialty sport shops grew 10.6% while the number of shops (1,071) declined the exact same percentage. This activity is reflected in “Sales per Store” data, $1.6 million (up 31%) in full-line sporting goods stores and $773,000 (up 24%) in specialty sport shops.

“Sales per Employee,” an important measure of personnel productivity, was about equal in these two channels of distribution. In full-line sporting goods stores, employees generated $132,600 in sales (up 12.6% from the previous Census). In specialty sport shops, employees generated $131,100 in sales (up 10.6%).

Sales in athletic footwear stores rose to $333.2 million in '02 versus $240 million in '97, a 38.8% increase. The number of stores (296) generating those sales rose 13.4%. Sales per employee rose only 2.2%, to $125,400.

“New Englanders spent more than the average American in sporting goods stores and specialty sport shops, but less in athletic footwear stores,” said NSGA VP/information & research Thomas Doyle. “Although they represent only 5.1% of the US population, they spent 6.2% of the total dollars spent in sporting goods stores and specialty sport shops. In athletic footwear stores, they spent 4.7% of the total dollars.”

Total US sales in sporting goods stores, which includes full-line stores and specialty sports shops, rose to $25.02 billion in '02 versus $20.04 billion in '97.

Total US sales growth was stronger in the full-line store segment, up 39% to $12.98 billion in '02 versus $9.31 billion in '97. Sales in specialty sports shops rose 12% to $12.05 billion versus $10.73 billion in '97. In the previous Census of Retail, sales had grown more rapidly in specialty sports shops than in full line stores, 42% versus 35%.

Total US sales in athletic footwear stores reached $7.1 billion, a 21.5% increase from the $5.85 billion reported in the 97 Census. The '97 Census had shown a 66.5% increase over the previous census ('92).

The US Bureau of the Census conducts the Census of Retail Trade every five years. The data was collected in '03 for the '02 calendar year. The first data was released in late '04 and final data released in late '05.

NSGA analyses of regional data recently released for the '02 Census of Retail. 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 census regions and finally for the total US. Cost of the 57-page report is $95 to NSGA members; $150, to non-members.


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