Sail America President Sally Helme recently asked me to reflect on recent trends on both the retail side of the boating market and the broader retail industry, as well as how I think those indications may serve as a bellwether for the sailing industry in the months ahead. So many of the retail business statistics in the sailing industry are mixed in with the general boating numbers, and impacted by retail trends overall, that I felt it was important to reflect on recent trends from both areas.
Retail trends so far in 2010 continue to show mixed results, even within the broader retail industry. Overall, we continue to see a slow, cautiously optimistic recovery, which for most companies is still far short of the pre-October 2008 levels of business.
Very recently, a composite of 30 larger retailers, as reported by Kantar Retail, showed a strong November 2010, with comparable store sales increasing in the +6.0% range. Analysts are quick to caution that much of this could have been driven by “bargain seeking” consumers, taking advantage of significant discounts and especially the recent “Black Friday” weekend.
According to the research firm ShopperTrak, retail spending increased 0.3% on the day after Thanksgiving ...