Words & Numbers by Cary Allington
After a long string of positive comps in the ActionWatch same-store retail panel, July broke the trend with sales down nearly 2% compared to the same month last year. Sales saw some some positive categories, however, with hardgoods up nearly 5% and female-specific products up a little more than 1%.
The hardgoods sales increase came largely from the growth of surf hardgoods and was also helped by growth of wakeboard hardgoods. Skateboard hardgood sales declined slightly, due mostly to significantly smaller sales of long completes (over 34") even though there was strong growth of short completes (under 34"). It seems that the market that was gobbling up long cruisers has shifted its focus to the more nimble and less costly short cruisers.
While ladies' accessory items experienced a fairly sharp sales decline in July, growth of footwear and apparel remained positive. Growth of ladies' apparel classes varied substantially with some strongly negative and others strongly positive. Some of the best performers were non-denim pants, skirts and shorts. Women's shoe sales also remained positive but the growth levels have come down dramatically since the first part of the year.
Although it was a relatively rough start to the second half of the year, here’s hoping the key back-to-school sales month of August will bring core shops back into positive territory.
A big jump up in hardgood sales growth in June helped bring up the overall sales growth for the month.
The ActionWatch Retail Panel includes 250 surf/skate independent specialty shops across the U.S. and is growing rapidly as more retailers join the free program. Retailers who participate get free access to a set of 50 reports updated each month. Retailers interested in joining the ActionWatch Retail Panel can get more information at www.ActionWatch.com.
All ActionWatch reports are made from the aggregated data of the participating retailers, which are located throughout the U.S. and vary in size from 750-square-foot shops to stores over 10,000 square feet. Data is collected monthly from electronic reports submitted by participating retailers.