The World's Only
Flashlight Industry News Site

Weather and Holidays Help Offset Decrease
in Overall December Outdoor Sales

Full-year sales (January - December 2009) totaled $5 billion, down 2% from 2008

Outdoor Industry Association Press Release - 2/9/2010

Click photos to enlarge

Outdoor Industry Association®

Outdoor Industry Association®

BOULDER, Co. - The December 2009 edition of the Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group, found that retail sales for all core outdoor stores combined (chain, internet, specialty)* dropped 1 percent compared to last December, moving from $1,074,662,580 to $1,059,836,849 and 3 percent from December 2007.

Weather-appropriate categories saw healthy sales; compared to December 2008, all insulated tops gained 11 percent in dollar sales, softshell tops grew 2 percent, apparel accessories jumped 8 percent and winter boots were up 9 percent. Full-year sales (January - December 2009) totaled $5 billion, down 2 percent from 2008.

After a warm November, winter returned to the United States with a vengeance in December. Record-breaking cold temperatures and several major winter storms moved across the country during the month. Several major cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, and Oklahoma City, had their snowiest Decembers on record.

Outdoor Specialty

All that cold and snow may have affected holiday-shopping traffic on specific days and specific regions, but the net effect was positive for outdoor specialty retailers, who saw total sales up 3 percent from last December, with significant dollar gains coming from outerwear, apparel accessories and winter boots. Outerwear sales were up 3 percent from last December, apparel accessories such as hats, gloves and socks were up 12 percent and winter boots were up 26 percent. Together, all outerwear, apparel accessories and winter boots accounted for 59 percent of December specialty dollar sales. Other categories saw positive momentum in December as well; synthetic fill mummy bags, small and medium packs and multiple winter equipment categories increased sales compare to last December. Looking at all of 2009 as a whole, specialty store sales fell 3 percent in units and 4 percent in dollars. Footwear outperformed most product categories in 2009. Hiking boots, winter boots and multisport shoes all increased sales over 2008.

Outdoor Chain

In contrast, chain dollar sales slid 6 percent compared to last December, moving from $349 million to $326 million. However, chain stores did manage to outpace December 2007 sales, which came in at $325 million. Comparing this December to last, nearly every product category lost dollar sales. There were bright spots, as specific products continued to resonate with consumers. Softshell jackets gained 8 percent in total dollar sales, assisted by an 18 percent boost in sales of woman-specific styles; women's styles accounted for 34 percent of total softshell unit sales this December, up from 32 percent last December. Multiple equipment accessory categories hit the mark as well; categories with dollar growth over last December included energy food, luggage, tools and camp accessories. For the entire year, chains slipped 3 percent overall with declines coming from equipment, equipment accessories and apparel. Footwear, assisted by healthy growth in hiking boots, winter boots and multisport shoes, grew 2 percent in total dollar sales for the period.

Outdoor Internet

December 2009 online sales could not match those of December 2008. Total dollar sales dropped 5 percent from $196 million to $186 million. However, the channel continued long-term growth as online sales came out 7 percent ahead of December 2007. Comparing this December to last, medium packs, climbing gear and multiple winter equipment and camp accessory categories increased sales. On the soft-goods side, growth came from insulated outerwear tops, softshell outerwear tops, hiking boots, winter boots, multisport shoes, socks, handwear, and a handful of sportswear categories. Positively, online sales increased 4 percent for the entire year, moving from $968 million in 2008 to $1billion in 2009.


Core paddlesport stores (specialty, chain, internet) brought in $14M in December and $338 million for all of 2009. Sales were up 4 percent for December, but lost 7 percent for the entire year. Off-season sales continued to come out ahead of last year; compared to December 2008, all specialty and chain store sales both increased 5 percent in total dollar sales. Categories outpacing last December's sales in specialty stores included recreation kayaks, whitewater kayaks and multiple accessory categories.

* OIA Outdoor Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.

To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data, read the complete monthly executive summary and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

To access brand share, best selling styles, the competitive set, brand growth and more please contact Leisure Trends Group for more information at 303-786-7900 x107 or

About Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous®, Outdoor University® and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer trade shows. For more information, visit or call 303.444.3353.

Search for other press releases from the Outdoor Industry Association

Current FlashlightNews Headlines