Snow Sports Market Stays Afloat as the Economy Sinks

January 6, 2009

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — While the overall retail market
struggled to make it into the black after Thanksgiving, the snow sports market
remained healthy with 3% growth according to SnowSports Industries America’s
(SIA) exclusive research. August to November snow sports sales surpassed $917
as the overall retail market faltered in the recession’s nadir.

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“Retail trade sales were down 2.0 percent from October 2008 and were
8.5 percent below last year.” (U.S. Census Bureau, Advance Monthly Sales for

Retail Trade and Food Services, November 2008).

SIA further reports that carryover and juniors’ equipment sales continued
to lead the snow sports hard goods market while sales of this season’s alpine
ski and snowboard equipment sagged. Cross country ski equipment is a bright
spot in the hard goods category with 14% growth season over season. Apparel
sales reached $400 million so far this season representing 2% growth over
August through November sales in 2007. Apparel suits, anything fleece,
snowboard apparel, hats and gloves flew off the shelves as winter made its
presence known across the country. Accessories that anyone on the slopes may
need including goggles, helmets and wax got hotter as the temperatures got
colder. In fact, all accessories sales increased 7% compared to season to
date sales in November 2007.

Sales of carryover gear continued to account for a significant portion of
equipment sales in November. Carryover accounted for 30% of skis, 23% of
snowboards, 21% of ski boots, and 23% of snowboard boots sold August to
November 2008. Compare that to last season’s August to November results when
carryover sales accounted for just 20% of skis and 21% of snowboards sold and
millions fewer dollars spent. However, sales of current year model alpine ski
equipment sagged heavily with most ski categories down significantly. In
fact, excluding carryover sales, current model alpine ski sales are down about
16%. Ski prices are up across the board but dollar sales of skis (including
carryover) are down almost 7% despite the increase. Cross country equipment
was a very bright spot in the equipment market in November with sales of
nearly $9.5 million from August through November, a 14% increase over last
season’s August to November sales. Snowboard equipment sales were up 3%
overall and were selling particularly well online, where sales have increased
25% compared to August to November sales last season.

Parents didn’t slow their spending on equipment and apparel for the kids
in November. Overall, junior’s equipment sales increased 12%; junior ski
sales were up 21% in dollars, junior snowboard sales increased 1% in dollars.
Parents were not skimping on apparel for their kids either, junior apparel
sales increased 7% and a surprise in the numbers was sales of junior snow
suits that increased more than 40% in units and in dollars.

“I bought all the gear, clothing and lessons my daughter needed to start

skiing because she’s 5 years old and I want her to have the same great
experiences on the slopes that I had when I was a kid. I can wait until next

  year for new skis."  Michelle Mikesell, WISP Resort, Deep Creek, Maryland

         Channel               $Dollars     Units Sold   Change in   Change in
                                 Sold                     Dollars      Units
    All Stores               $917,171,594   12,751,954      2.69 %      5.04 %
         Alpine Equipment    $155,512,947      749,349     -2.66 %     -2.95 %
         Nordic Equipment      $9,457,731      102,853     13.93 %      5.93 %
      Snowboard Equipment     $99,511,754      597,115      3.01 %      2.29 %
                  Apparel    $400,681,042    3,721,351      1.81 %      5.77 %
              Accessories    $246,573,505    7,566,075      7.23 %      5.77 %
    Specialty Shops          $558,738,692    7,049,096      1.08 %      1.20 %
         Alpine Equipment    $122,268,312      559,973      -.06 %      0.79 %
         Nordic Equipment      $6,793,831       72,215     11.67 %      8.84 %
      Snowboard Equipment     $67,024,446      381,114      5.77 %      4.21 %
                  Apparel    $215,054,393    1,757,854     -1.94 %     -0.87 %
              Accessories    $145,684,657    4,272,491      4.10 %      1.75 %
    Chain Stores             $156,285,816    3,065,607     -2.95 %      1.00 %
         Alpine Equipment     $13,217,702       92,870    -23.89 %    -24.30 %
         Nordic Equipment      $1,020,226       13,957     15.13 %      3.28 %
      Snowboard Equipment     $15,107,709      119,699    -21.59 %    -17.31 %
                  Apparel     $78,005,693      948,353      2.68 %      1.68 %
              Accessories     $48,435,566    1,889,431      2.85 %      3.81 %
    Internet/Online Sales    $202,147,085    2,637,252     12.70 %     23.27 %
         Alpine Equipment     $20,026,933       96,506     -0.15 %     -2.78 %
         Nordic Equipment      $1,643,673       16,681     23.44 %     -3.19 %
      Snowboard Equipment     $17,379,599       96,302     24.46 %     31.36 %
                  Apparel    $107,620,955    1,015,144      9.48 %     24.98 %
              Accessories     $52,453,283    1,404,153     22.24 %     23.82 %

    Source:  SIA Retail Audit 2008.09 August to November Sales

The Internet channel slowed the pace of growth in November gaining 13% in
dollars and 23% in units compared to August to November 2007. Overall,
consumers spent $202 million on snow sports equipment, apparel, and
accessories online. Internet sales comprised 22% of all the dollars consumers
spent on snow sports products in the U.S. between August 1 and November 30,

Specialty shops were responsible for $559 million of the $917 million in
total sales (includes specialty shops, chain stores, and online sales) for the
snow sports marketplace August through November 2008. Specialty store sales
increased slightly season over season in November. Consumers still prefer to
buy their equipment in specialty shops. In fact, 79% of alpine equipment, 72%
of Nordic gear and 67% of all snowboard equipment was sold in specialty shops
so far this season.

Chain stores’ equipment sales continue to sink with total decreases of
21% in dollars and 19% in units. Alpine ski sales are down 24% and snowboard
equipment sales decreased 22%. Chain stores equipment sales accounted for
just 11% of all equipment sales in the U.S. snow sports marketplace from
August to November. Apparel sales made up half of all chain store snow sports
sales August through November 2008.

The market data presented in this report comes from the SIA Retail Audit
conducted by the Leisure Trends Group. Each season, Leisure Trends gathers
data between August 1 and March 31 from a representative panel of more than
1,200 snow sports retailers who provide sales data directly from their Point
of Sale systems. The panel and the method for extrapolating the results out
to the entire industry is based on a triennial census of snow sports retailers
designed to accurately define the size and structure of the snow sports retail
marketplace. Note: The August to November retail data does not include resort
retail shops.

SIA partners with Leisure Trends Group to provide reliable data about the
snow sports market, and about the people who work and play in the snow. The
data contained in this press release is collected by Leisure Trends Group for
the SIA. Note that August to November retail data does not include resort
retail shops. If you need additional information, contact Kelly Davis,
Director of Research at KDavis@snowsports.org or by phone at 703.506.4224.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is a not-for-profit trade association
whereby competing on-snow product suppliers magnify their power, by working
together, for the development of the on-snow sports industry. For more
information, check out http://www.snowsports.org. SnowSports Industries
America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: 703.556.9020,
Fax: 703.821.8276, E-mail: SIAmail@snowsports.org

Contact: SIA media office, +1-703-556-9020, pr@snowsports.org

snowsports.org Media Center

SOURCE SnowSports Industries America

Source: newswire

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