Tough Winter Sports Season Ends in Whimper in March

Mother Nature was no friend of the 2011-2012 winter sports season in the U.S. Total retail dollar sales, as collected from point-of-sales systems of more than 1,200 snowsports retailers by Lesisure Trends Group, declined 3.8% tp $3.4 billion for the Aug. to Mar. 31 period. After rising by nearly 8% in the Aug-Oct preseason window and 1.8% in Nov, unit sales declined by double-digits in three of the season’s final four month, capped by a 15% declined in March.  Total seasonal units dipped by 7.2 million, or 12.3% as snows never materialized across much of the U.S. Additionally, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reported that Skier/rider visits fell 17% to 51 million across all U.S. snowsports during the season.

Meanwhile, the SIA reports that end of season inventory levels are having a significant impact on the sell-in for the 2012-13 season.  At MAr. 31, were 30% more units in specialty inventories overall.  All categories had bloated inventory levels in specialty doors at season end from equipment (+41%) and apparel (+46%) to accessories (+27% versus the end of the 2010-11 season.

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