Winter Sports Retailers Taking Pragmatic Approach
SAM Magazine—Boulder, Colo., Sept. 14, 2012—Winter sports retailers reduced preseason orders sharply last spring but remain optimistic about the upcoming season, results of a new retail survey conducted by Leisure Trends Group reveal. And early indicators show surprising strength.
Drawn from a sample of 44 responses among outdoor and winter sports retailers, the survey shows the impact of leftover inventory from 2011-12: 64 percent of responding retailers cut their preseason orders compared to the previous season. But retailers are optimistic nonetheless; more than 70 percent expect sales this year to exceed last year’s. And the good vibe has some basis in early sales numbers. Half of those surveyed reported that Labor Day sales this year topped last year—which was very strong in the early season.
Just as importantly, retailers are holding prices on carryover inventory rather than dumping it at deeply discounted prices. For their Labor Day weekend sales, the majority of retailers report pricing carryover inventory about the same as it was priced last Labor Day weekend.
One possible consequence of reduced preseason orders could be inventory shortages should snowfall be abundant this winter. That could give winter resort retail operations, and resort-town retailers, whose selling seasons begin much later than urban and suburban stores, a strong season as well.