April produced the largest monthly year-over-year sales increase for ladies' apparel so far this year with a whopping 19% gain in the ActionWatch same-store panel. The overall April sales gain of 12% following a relatively good first quarter is making 2011 look more and more like a stronger recovery year.
Sales of tanks and knit crews soared in April with polos being the only shirt class that floundered. Fleece, jackets and sweaters were all strongly up while most bottoms classes also performed well with the exceptions of denim and skirts. In the footwear category women's/girls' shoes continued on the insane rocket ride to the moon while sandals for both genders were up single digits.
Accessory sales performances were mixed with watches, hats and socks showing good sales gains, sunglasses and bag sales flat while belt and wallet sales were down. All hardgood categories tracked experienced year-over-year sales gains in April except for skimboard hardgoods. Surf hardgood sales were up almost 16% and skate hardgoods showed a sales gain of nearly 9%.
Some corrected errors that were discovered in data from previous months slightly lifted the numbers, but April was still the second-best performing month so far this year based on the year-over-year sales growth measurement.
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.