Outdoor Specialty Retail Group Sees Robust Recovery

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According to the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, independent outdoor specialty retailers are enjoying an exceptional year-to-date sales rebound that has met and surpassed business as usual. Retailers in the group are up 8 percent on a rolling 12-month basis with year-over-year Q1 figures jumping 34 percent.

Rich Hill, president of GOA, confirmed the accuracy of the data, but he warns that it should be viewed with cautious optimism.

“Coming from the depths of the shutdown to robust outdoor demand paired with widespread supply chain issues, we’re clearly headed into a pretty crazy data phase in the outdoor sector,” he said.

By the end of March 2020, 95 percent of GOA members had closed their doors due to COVID-19 and their aggregate sales fell double-digits in March (-33%) and April (-58%) before dramatically improving in May 2020 (-9%). Year-over-year sales tell a vastly different story in 2021 with January (+20%) and February (+14%) up double-digits followed by a 101-percent improvement in March when average group sales margins rose nearly 4 percent, an indication of more full-price selling of new products rather than discounted fall/winter clearance merchandise.

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