DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (March 2, 2020) – According to the US Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail Trade Report, sales for sporting goods stores fell for the third straight year in 2019 to $41.8 billion, representing a 2 percent decrease vs. the 2018 total of $42.4 billion. Holiday sales for the months of November and December ended up flat compared to 2018, reaching a combined $8.3 billion.
Sales during the second half of 2019 showed promise, beating 2018 sales for five out of the last six months. However, the growth was not enough to overcome a lackluster first half of the year as January through June monthly totals were down in each month compared to the prior year.
Recently, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasted that retail sales for 2020 will increase between 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent despite uncertainty from the lingering trade war, coronavirus and the upcoming presidential election. In addition, online sales are expected to grow between 12 percent and 15 percent for the year. NRF also stated that preliminary results show that retail sales during 2019 grew 3.7 percent compared to the prior year, ending up just short of their forecast of 3.8 percent growth.
Because the sporting goods stores sector has not experienced the same growth as the overall retail industry in recent years, NSGA believes it is best for its members to proceed through the rest of 2020 with a cautious outlook.