Article From：SGB Media
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA) announced that based on topline revenue data provided by its retail members, GOA group sales numbers were up 8.2 percent year-to-date over 2021, which was a record-setting year for the group.
With 102 independent specialty outdoor retailers representing 222 retail locations, GOA’s overall growth in 2022 included a strong Q1 (January to March, up 10.1 percent), a slightly slower Q2 (April to June, up 5.6 percent) and a resurgent Q3 (July to September, up 9.5 percent).
The organization released the results ahead of its upcoming Connect buying show from November 7-10, 2022.
“The timing of the upcoming Connect show couldn’t be better as it will set the stage for some essential conversations around both the challenges and opportunities at specialty retail right now,” said Gabe Maier, president, GOA. “It’s certainly satisfying to see how some retailers continue to thrive as we navigate the tail end of the pandemic, but it’s also important to have some direct talks about how broader market forces are creating some specific hurdles at retail. The path forward is communication, early and often, to ensure we’re all working together.”
At Tahoe Mountain Sports, located in Truckee, CA, owner Dave Polivy reported gross YTD sales growth “in the 5 percent range” that was on par with GOA group numbers; however, the moderate sales increase was countered by a problematic financial picture of lower margins and tighter cash flow due to significant inflation in shipping and payroll costs. He also called out oversupply as the “scariest” issue of all the challenges currently facing his business.
“The overall Q4 outlook is cautionary but not doomsday,” said Polivy. “We are honing in our selection and trimming orders thinking there will be plenty of inventory availability come January if we need it. The worry is that these vendors will cut prices during holiday and ignore their own MAP policies, which would be absolutely devastating because any sale action will directly impact margins which are already trimmed due to payroll and shipping pressures.”
The manager of Kristi Mountain Sports, located in Alamosa, CO, Raleigh Burt, reported that the store’s performance this year has been well below GOA’s average, as the “unsustainable pace” of 2020/21 has reverted to pre-pandemic levels. Burt commented on the headwind of negative consumer forces—high gas prices, the stock market downturn, MSRP increases, and significant inventory issues, particularly in hardgoods. Yet he remained upbeat, stating that his overall business financials were “still strong.”
“Our plan for 2023 is to be cautious on our buys, as we foresee sales continuing to decline slightly. Our shelves are full with one to two years of certain products, and it’s natural to expect that there will be some significant discounting next year as brands find their warehouses overstocked, which means the last thing we want is to accept more inventory now that will lose value when it’s time to sell it next spring. Hopefully, vendors have their eyes open to what is coming down the pipe,” said Burt.
At Trail Creek Outfitters in Glen Mills, PA, owner Ed Camelli reported sales numbers were well above the GOA group level, largely due to the dominant lifestyle apparel and footwear categories in his product selection. Camelli said he was enjoying the return of in-person shopping in his community, which is largely driven by a core “loyal and local” customer and has seen four of the biggest months in the 39-year history of his store in 2022, with the largest growth in September and October—up 29 percent.
“What does the crystal ball say? There’s certainly been a lot of chatter about big retailers being over-inventoried and asking vendors to break MAP, and that reckoning may be coming but, so far, we haven’t seen it,” said Camelli.