Leisure marketing: Outdoor enthusiasts are shopping again.

Outdoor retailers are seeing double digit sales growth over last year.

The latest numbers are in. And all signs point to a recovery for outdoor and action sports products.

Outdoor enthusiasts are spending money at their favorite retailers again.

Which means they are feeling more confident about the economy, and about their own financial well-being.  If history holds true, it also means you can expect to see more activity and spending at all the places they hike, bike, run, train and board.

This usually means they’re getting ready to commit themselves to a full season of their sport, which often translates into continued strong sales throughout the summer.

If you’re the CMO of a leisure brand that appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, plan on being much busier this summer than you were last.

The latest Leisure Trends Group RetailTrak Outdoor Retail sales data confirms that:

  • Overall, sales were up 12% from this same time in 2009, and 6% from 2008.
  • The category is outperforming all U.S. retail sales, which was up 7.6% from this time last year.

When you break it down by category, the numbers look even better:

  • Outdoor chains were up 14% over this time last year, and 5% over 2008.
  • Online sales jumped 14% over last year, and 30% over 2008.
  • Specialty stores were up 9% over 2009, but down 5% over 2008.

Sales at outdoor specialty stores are especially encouraging:

  • Sales of carryover, or clearance items, plunged by double-digits from this time last year.
  • Overall average margin returned to amounts last seen in 2007.
  • After a spike last March, inventory also returned to 2007 and 2008 levels, all indicators of healthier and more profitable sales for the channel.

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