National snow sports sales down in tough year |

National snow sports sales down in tough year

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

WASHINGTON, D.C. – SnowSports Industries America and The Leisure Trends Group released the most recent RetailTRAK numbers for March 2012, collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. The snow sports market brought in $3.4 billion during the 2011/2012 season, $135 million less than last season.

This season started strong with plenty of momentum left over from the record-breaking 2010-11 season and the promise of another epic winter of La Nina snow, but the repeat never materialized. In fact, the 2011-12 season may go down as one of the worst on record. December brought sparse snow across the country and the conditions didn’t improve until the third week of January.

The lack of snow put a significant dent in sales and in snow sports participation; the National Ski Areas Association announced that skier/riders visits were down 17 percent across U.S. snow sports resorts this season to 51 million skiers and riders on the slopes.

Snow sports unit sales declined 12 percent overall this season, including a 17 percent decrease in units sold through chain stores and a 14 percent decrease in specialty shops. However, Internet sales did rather well, and increased 10 percent this year, driven by late season equipment and accessories sales. This may indicate that many retailers are using commerce-enabled websites to move product when in-shop sales have slowed.

End of season inventory levels are having a significant impact on sell-in for next season. Retailers were not able to sell the gear they purchased from suppliers this season, which drove up costs and reduced cash flow used to purchase product for the 2012-13 season. At season’s end there were 30 percent more units in specialty inventories overall. In fact, snow sports specialty retailers ended this season with 41 percent more equipment units, 46 percent more apparel units and 27 percent more accessories sitting in inventory than at the end of the 2010-11 season.

For more information, e-mail Kelly Davis,