Thursday, November 02, 2006

Monthly Retail Report

The monthly sales for the 40+- public companies that we cover on a regular basis came in today. We've been reading press releases and publishing stories since 6:30 am. In the heat of things we don't really get much time to digest the information, but now that things have slowed a bit I can get a 10,000 foot view of what's going on out there. Most of the companies we cover are more pertinent for the Sporting Goods Industry than the outdoor industry, but there are a few that offer some interesting insights.

It's pretty clear that Zumiez is mopping up the action sports crowd, and PacSun is paying the price. It's interesting to see the impact that adding a hardgoods department has on sales. Even if hardgoods are just a small part of Zumiez business, it adds so much more authenticity to the shops that PacSun just can't compete.

We also look at Big Dog Holdings regularly. Why? BDOG owns The Walking Company which is basically an outdoor footwear mall-based shop. TWC is posting some impressive double-digit comp-sales results and basically saving BDOG from some serious losses.

Some big-picture results include Wal-Mart - sales were basically flat for the month, and the company's outlook for November is the same. Some would say this is a clear sign of slowing retail, but Target, Costco, and Kohl's are all posting much better results. Is it possible that Wal-Mart is seeing some consumer backlash?

Finally, DSW, which carries a surprisingly large selection of Merrell footwear, is also seeing some positive results this month.

The public companies that do business in the Bicycle, Outdoor and SnowSports arena seem to be doing well. Even the small specialty shops that I talk to regularly are pretty positive about this season. Sure, we have the occasional complaint about "teflon greased close-out channels," but overall business seems to be up this month.

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