SBD/December 16, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sporting Goods Sales Surprisingly Robust Through Downturn

While most retailers are on a "slow road to recovery, sales of sporting and outdoor goods have remained surprisingly robust," according to Miguel Bustillo of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Commerce Department figures Tuesday showed that November sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores "rose 2.3% from the prior month, and 12.3% over the last year." Though the combination of three categories makes it "hard to discern which had contributed the most, many specialty athletic and outdoor merchants have been outperforming their general retail peers all year." Analysts who follow sporting goods chains are "not surprised." Stephens Inc. analyst Rick Nelson: "It's less discretionary than other segments of retail. A baseball glove or football cleats for your kids is not something you are going to postpone." Bustillo noted sporting goods and outdoor chains still "have felt the weight of the economic slump," but many chains "reported benefiting from strong sales of firearms after President Obama was elected in 2008." Bass Pro Shops Founder John Morris said that sales of "big-ticket items such as boats predictably dropped after the economy softened," but the chain "has found that hunters and anglers are as eager as ever to pursue their passions" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/15).
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