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McLean, VA, Dec. 20, 2000–(SAM Magazine) The first sales report of the winter season released yesterday by SnowSports Industries America paints an improving picture at retail. Overall sales-which combines numbers from equipment, accessories and apparel sold at specialty ski and snowboard shops as well as chain stores-were up 1.7 percent for the first part of the season as compared to the August-through-October period of 1999. In dollars, that translates to $297 million in sales compared to $292 million in 1999 and $275 million in 1998.
Of the overall sales, specialty stores accounted for $226 million, compared to $225 million in 1999, a 0.6 percent increase, while chain stores rang up sales of $71 million, a 5.5 percent increase over the $67 million posted for the three-month period in 1999.
Overall equipment sales combining numbers from alpine, snowboard and nordic, was up 0.3 percent to $130.2 million. The leader in gear was snowboard equipment, with a 6 percent hike to $32.9 million for the period. Alpine gear climbed a slight 0.3 percent to $95.3 million, but nordic gear fell 47 percent to $2 million. Specialty store sales accounted for $110 million of the gear sales, down 0.5 percent compared to the $110.5 million in 1999 while chains totalled $20.2 million, up 5.2 percent over 1999.
Alpine ski sales were up 3.2 percent in units but prices slipped from an average of $319 last season to $284 this year, meaning dollars are behind last year by 2.5 percent because of carry-over skis. In the category, however, mid-fat skis are hot, with a 55 percent increase in units sold over last year. Twin tip skis were up 205 percent to $970,000. Alpine boot sales were up 7 percent compared to last season and the average price for bindings was down from $137 last season to $128 this year, causing sales to slide 3.5 percent to $12.8 million. Snowboard sales were up 2.3 percent to $14 million, with snowboard boot sales down slightly by 0.4 percent to $7 million. Snowboard bindings were up 3.8 percent to $5.1 million.