BACKCOUNTRY GEAR FUELS RETAIL SALES

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Publish Date

04/05/2013

SAM Magazine—Washington, D.C., April 5, 2013—Snowsports retail sales reached $3.1 billion for the season through February, up 2 percent compared to August through February 2011-12, according to the SIA RetailTRAK retail audit conducted by Leisure Trends Group for Snowsports Industries America (SIA). Backcountry gear showed the greatest growth.

Sales in January and February were healthy compared with the past four seasons, and that helped offset relatively lackluster sales earlier in the season.

The data show the trend toward Internet sales continues, though growth in online sales has slowed. Through February, specialty shop sales totalled $1.7 billion, down 1 percent from the prior year. Internet sales reached $737 million, a 10 percent increase. Chain store sales were flat at $694 million. But the product mix in chains has shifted away from gear; more than half (55 percent) of sales in chains are for apparel, 36 percent are for accessories, and just 8 percent were spent on equipment.

Most categories of gear, apparel, and accessories were little changed. A key exception: Alpine touring equipment sales jumped 21 percent. Alpine/AT boot sales more than doubled, and sales of lighter AT/randonee boots leaped 44 percent. Splitboards, though small in number (3,100 units), rose 14 percent, and sales of climbing skins were up 12 percent.

Among accessories, action cameras led the way with a gain of 14 percent in units and 37 percent in dollars, to $29 million.

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