April Outdoor Retail Sales See Increase

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SAM Magazine-Boulder, Colo., May 19, 2011-In a sign of the continuing strength of outdoor sports despite a sluggish and perhaps stalling economy, dollar sales in April for outdoor retailers rose 8% compared April 2010, according to prelilminary data from the Leisure Trends Group. Outdoor specialty store sales increased a healthy 6 percent, outdoor chains jumped 9 percent, and outdoor online retail sales picked up 8 percent.

April retail sales were the strongest they have been in the last ten years, and Internet sales were the strongest they have been since Leisure Trends Group began tracking online sales in 2005. Outdoor retailers benefited from the general rising retail tide which, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 25 major retail chains, jumped 9 percent in April, one of the biggest upticks in the last few years.

"Apparel buys rebounding to near pre-recession levels allowed specialty retailers to sell outerwear longer into the spring," said Scott Jaeger, senior retail analyst at Leisure Trends Group. However, rising prices are starting to cause concern.

Through March, snowsports industry sales had reached $3.3 billion for the season, the highest ever.