Early, Cold Winter Proves to be a Boon to Retailers
Port Washington, NY, February 18, 2014 – According to Leisure Trends, an NPD Group company, core US outdoor retail channels* saw sales of all outdoor products increase 6.4 percent to $6.9 billion in 2013, the largest full-year dollar total on record. Sales of cold weather outdoor apparel, footwear and accessories increased 9 percent and make up $2.2 billion of the total $6.9 billion.
Cold weather apparel and accessories, which include insulated and non-insulated jackets, shells and fleece, base layers, handwear, headwear, and winter boots, experienced strong sales across much of the country in 2013. These categories saw a sales increase of 9.5 percent in November and December alone (vs. Nov.-Dec 2012) with outerwear (insulated, shell and fleece jackets and pants) making up 68 percent of the $2.2 billion. Almost 40% of outerwear sales occur in the months of November and December so a late winter can spell disastrous for outdoor retailers.
“With winter arriving earlier than last year and numerous deep freezes blanketing the country, sales have outpaced industry expectations,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.
Specialty outdoor retailers ended 2013 with healthier inventories than in 2012. At the end of December 2013, retailers had sold through 84 percent of on-hand inventory for cold weather apparel and accessories, a 4 percent improvement from the previous year. As a result of strong sales and aggressive inventory management, inventory levels for cold weather products had declined 15 percent from the same time in 2012.
“Extreme weather conditions can be a boon for outdoor industry retailers, but it also presents its own challenges,” said Cohen. “Retailers in areas affected by cold weather have enjoyed brisk sales, but as their inventories draw down they might be running low on key styles, sizes, and colors. For retailers affected by the drought, one of the biggest drags on the outerwear market was due to the warmer, drier conditions experienced in western coastal states.”
* Outdoor retailers include: national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains, outdoor specialty stores, and outdoor specialty internet merchants.