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SAM Magazine—McLean, Va., Dec. 13, 2012—The snow sports retail market declined 2 percent season-to-date (August through October) compared to last year. But it still reached $616 million in sales, despite significant disruptions in retail sales in the South and Northeast regions due to Hurricane Sandy, and lack of momentum from the snow-challenged 2011/2012 season.

Over the past four seasons, retail sales from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31 have accounted for approximately 15 percent of total season sales, and tend to be indicative of momentum from the previous season. This year appears to be following form.

Comparing only the month of October 2012 to October 2011, snow sports retail sales declined 5 percent in units and 4 percent in dollars. Apparel sales increased 1 percent while accessories sales including goggles, gloves, wax, hats and cameras fell 4 percent. Sales of equipment declined more steeply, with snowboard equipment sales down 19 percent, cross country equipment sales off 30 percent, and alpine equipment sales down 8 percent.

In late October, Hurricane Sandy disrupted retail sales significantly. Snow sports specialty retailers in the Northeast and South suffered 26 and 27 percent declines, respectively. Equipment dollar sales were particularly depressed in the two regions, down 30 percent in the Northeast and 44 percent in the South.