SIA Retail Audit: August to October sales rose 3.9%

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SIN--12/10/03--SIA posted its Retail Audit for the August-October quarter on Tuesday, and it shows a 3.9% sales increase over the same quarter in 2002, based on cash register results at 1085 stores.
Specialty stores did very well, doubling sales of ski-and-binding "systems" (thanks largely to a 13% drop in average price) and a 73% rise in sales of carryover ski inventory. Chain stores saw sales drop 8%. Margins suffered badly in chainstore hardgoods, where units rose 8% and dollars dropped 7%. For example, chain stores saw soft boots rise 262% in units -- but dollars were up only 74% as average sale price fell fromÝ $220 to $106.
In general, a savvy skier population spent the early fall snapping up bargains. Prices tumbled across the board. Alpine boot sales rose 2.4% in units but fell 4.5% in dollars. Soft boots rose 27% in units but only 4% in dollars. Junior boots were up 43% in units, but 22% in dollars. New alpine skis (excluding systems) fell 11% in units and 20% in dollars. Nordic gear boomed, up 68% in units and 64% in dollars.
Similarly, skiwear categories showed strong improvement in units sold, at reduced margins. Alpine apparel rose 10% in units and 7% in dollars, with big gains in womens wear.
Snowboarders were more eager, and less margin-sensitive. Boards rose 19% in units, 20% in dollars; snowboard equipment in general rose 19% in units and 22% in dollars.
Accessories in general proved strong, but some fast-growing product categories leveled off. Snowshoes fell 56% in units, helmets dropped 17%.
SIA is expected to release its own summary report on Wednesday.

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