Accessory Sales Up 9% For Season

McLEAN, VA (June 12, 2001) – Retail sales of snow sports accessories at specialty and chain stores was $693 million for the just concluded winter season, reports SnowSports Industries America in its Retail Audit report on accessory sales released today.

Accessories are divided into equipment accessories – sunglasses, goggles, snowshoes, helmets, auto racks – and apparel accessories – gloves, mittens, socks, turtlenecks, base layer and hats.

Sales of all snow sports products were $490 million in March, the last month of the 2001 selling season, and the industry recorded its third best sales year ever with $2.2 billion in sales, which was seven percent behind last year. Exceptional sales in February and March 2000 ($814 million) pushed last season sales to an all-time high of $2.4 billion, well above the $2.21 billion recorded in 1999.

This is the sixth and final Audit of the season which tracks retail sales from August 1, 2000 through March 31, 2001. This report specifically looks at accessory sales at the retail level. Equipment and apparel sales were reported separately.

Accessory Sales Better Than Last Year at Specialty Shops

Sales of all products at specialty stores for the year were $1.7 billion, a nine percent drop compared to winter 2000. In 1999, total specialty stores sales were also $1.7 billion. Accessory sales, however, were $520 million for the year, a four- percent increase compared to 2000. (For details on the entire 2000-2001 sales scenario, see released titled “Snow Sports Product Inventory at All Time Low; Overall Sales Third Highest Ever.”)

In equipment accessories alone, specialty store sales for the period totaled $244 million, up eight percent. In specific equipment accessories categories: sunglass sales were $28 million, up 24 percent; goggles $44 million, up 11 percent; helmets $54 million, up 14 percent; auto racks $31 million, down 17 percent; and snowshoes $16 million, up 75 percent.

“Snowshoes sold for an average retail of $155 and sales did not break stride until March. Could that be because there are only 13,000 left in stock?” said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, the research firm that prepares the annual Retail Audit for SIA

Apparel accessories at specialty stores had $276 million in sales, up one percent. Keeping things warm were gloves at $48 million, up nine percent, and mittens $19 million, up 17 percent; headwear $36 million, up 15 percent; turtlenecks $19 million, up 15 percent; socks $31 million, down nine percent; and base layer apparel $58 million, up four percent.

“Gloves, mitts, turtlenecks and hats all ended the season up in units,” said Spring. “All other apparel accessories were down slightly, except winter boots which plunged. Increases in average retail prices softened the blow.”

Accessories Sales at Chain Stores Up Slightly

All sales at chain stores were $537 million, up one percent compared to 2000’s $530 million but below the $541 in sales at chain stores in 1999. Accessory sales at chain stores were $173 million, up 0.1 percent.

Equipment accessories at the chains recorded $58 million in sales, up three percent. In individual categories, helmets were $7 million, down four percent; auto racks $7 million, up 26 percent; sunglasses $10 million, up 17 percent; goggles $12 million, up 64 percent; and snowshoes $4 million, down 50 percent.

In apparel accessories, chain store sales were $115 million, down two percent. In the categories: mittens were $5 million, up 43 percent while gloves were $19 million, up 20 percent; headwear $12 million, up 26 percent; turtlenecks $3 million, down 20 percent; socks $24 million, up 54 percent; and base layer $27 million, up four percent.

Resort Shop Sales Increase

Snow and cold weather brought sales to resort shops. This season, resort shops accounted for 20 percent of total industry sales, up from 15 percent in 2000. “Accessories, always a strong seller at area shops, posted strong increases,” said Spring. “Twenty-three percent of all equipment accessories were sold at the area shops this season, compared to 18 percent in the 1999-00 season. Apparel accessories did even better with 31 percent of the units sold at area shops, up from 19 percent a year ago.”

“Our accessories sales were good,” said Mike Owen, owner of the Ski Barn, Slatyfork, WV. “We had fun. We bought some equipment and we’re ready for next year. We’re seeing a trend in growth on the repair side. People are bringing their stuff out of the closet.”