McLean, Va., Mar. 13--Snowsports Industries America(SIA) reported that because of strong sales of snowboard equipment throughthe end of January, sales industry-wide compared to last winter will not beas bad. So far, retail sales were off 4.7 percent for the first six monthsof winter (August 1, 1999 to January 31, 2000).
Specialty store retailers were 4.4 percent behind last year and chainstores were 8.2 percent off. The bright spots were snowboard apparel whichposted a 28.8 percent increase over last year's same period, snowboardequipment was up 17.8 percent and helmets showed a 42.3 percent increase atspecialty shops and a 180.2 percent increase at chain stores.
When asked why snowboard sales are up and alpine sales are down, JimSpring, who compiles the SIA Retail Audit through his Leisure Trends Groupsaid, "There are several reasons for this. One is demographic. Kids arebuying snowboards. They're parents aren't buying skis, boots or bindings.This fact, combined with late snow, has created a slow start for the alpinecategories.