Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
February 19, 2014: Good news for Nike, adidas, Reebok, Under Armour, Asics, New Balance, Mizuno, Brooks and others in the running/fitness, sports footwear, and apparel and accessories category.
Sales of those goods in 2013 sporting goods chain stores in the U.S. hit $10.5 billion, an increase of 6% over 2012. The leader was running shoe, where unit sales increased 3% and dollar sales increased 1% to $2.6 billion in 2013, according to Leisure Trends, a division of research and analytics firm NPD Group, Port Washington, NY.
The high points in run/fitness footwear in 2013 were cross trainers, up 5% to $353 million; and casual sandals, up 17% to $280 million.
Among the brands with spots currently on-air are Asics ("Gotta Run" pictured below) supporting the Aiscs' Gel; Reebok ("Underdog" pictured bottom) for ZQuick; and Under Armour ("Apollo" pictured above) for its SpeedForm running shoe.
It was not all good news, however. Sales of walking shoes were down 32% to $23 million, and multi-sport shoes were down 16% to $171 million, according to NPD.
On the strength of sportswear, where retail sales increased 14% to $2.7 billion, overall apparel sales rose nearly 8% to $4.6 billion, per NPD.
With sales totaling $2.1 billion, accessories gained 10% vs. 2012. Growth was driven by head wear ($270 million, up 25%), hand wear ($56 million, up 14%) and socks ($735 million, up 21%).
Run specialty retail dollar sales increased 2% to $909 million. However, unit sales fell 4% while average retail prices rose 6%.
According to NPD, "Most major categories experienced increases in revenue and decreases in units sold." Run specialty apparel units declined 2% and dollar sales were down 1% at $95 million, while the average retail price increased 3%. In dollars, sportswear fell 1%, while running outerwear gained 8 percent.
Run specialty accessories saw dollar sales reach $173 million in 2013, an increase of 1%, with unit sales falling 5%.
Separately, core U.S. outdoor retail channels saw sales of all outdoor products increase 6.4% to $6.9 billion in 2013, the largest full-year dollar total on record, according to Leisure Trends. Sales of cold weather outdoor apparel, footwear and accessories increased 9% and make up $2.2 billion of the total $6.9 billion.
Cold weather apparel and accessories — which include insulated and non-insulated jackets, shells and fleece, base layers, hand wear, headwear, and winter boots — experienced strong sales across much of the country in 2013., per NPD.
These categories saw a sales increase of 9.5% in November and December alone vs. 2012, with outerwear accounting for 68% of the $2.2 billion.
“With winter arriving earlier than last year and numerous deep freezes blanketing the country, sales have outpaced industry expectations,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD Group, said in a statement.
"Extreme weather conditions can be a boon for outdoor industry retailers, but it also presents its own challenges," said Cohen. "Retailers in areas affected by cold weather have enjoyed brisk sales, but as their inventories draw down they might be running low on key styles, sizes, and colors. For retailers affected by the drought, one of the biggest drags on the outerwear market was due to the warmer, drier conditions experienced in western coastal states.”
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