Athletic Apparel Good; Footwear Better

Sports apparel numbers showed a slight deceleration last week, but still putting up a positive trend. What’s notable is that this past week represents the toughest compare until early June. Then after a 2-3 week stint (Easter falls on the 24th this year vs. the 4th last year), the compares get ‘wickedly’ easy again until the holidays. As for brand performance, rising tide lifts all boats, but Adidas has been surprisingly strong. UnderArmour is still chugging along at a 200bp yy market share gain – which is solid to say the least. Nike’s trend is mixed. Still good, overall, but less so than peers due to lower ASPs as noted on last week’s call.

Additionally, we got our latest read on athletic footwear trends out of FINL’s results Friday that indicate sales are accelerating through the first three weeks of March. Comps are up +10% on top of toughest monthly compares of the year suggesting a substantial acceleration in the 2-year trend. Below are a few of the key highlights from the call regarding both comp trends and brand callouts:

FINL’s Q4 (Dec-Feb) Comps +4%

  • The comp store sales increase was driven by improved store metrics as conversion was up 2.1%
  • average dollars per transaction increased 2.4%
  • partially offset by a decline in store traffic of 3.1% for the quarter

Comp Trends/Callouts:

December was up +4%

January was down -2.7%

February was up +8.6%

Both sales and traffic picked up in the 2H of February with trends carrying over into March

Footwear: up +3.7%

December +4%

January -3.7%

February +8.1%

March +10%  (on top of +15.4% in first 3-weeks last year)

Running:

  • continued to lead footwear with a Q4 increase in the high teens and an increase in the mid-20s for the year
  • continues to be largest and best performing category
  • positive running trends expected to continue this fiscal year - expanding the technical running category
  • Nike's Air Max 11 as well as Nike Free were called out as key drivers in both women's and men's  along with Reebok's men's Zig Sonic

Basketball:

  • positive comp of the year and this trend got even better in the fourth quarter with double-digit comps for the category
  • Brand Jordan had a great quarter with strong retro releases and the very positive launch of Nike Hyperfuse
  • Reebok and Under Armour also positive callouts

Athletic Casual:

  • Down compared to last year in Q4 and slightly below plan
  • Saw positive momentum from Adidas Originals, Court styles from Nike and other retro and classic products, Canvas styles from Polo, Lotto and Levi's
  • In boot's, Polo, Nike and Timberland, were key sellers

Most notable mention in kids is the highly anticipated introduction of Nike Free and Air Max 11 which is launching in the kids category for the first time in April

Apparel: up +5.8%

  • Brand Jordan, the North Face, and UA key callouts in Q4
  • Despite more muted sales expectations in Q1, UA's charged cotton tees, Nike and Brand Jordan product expected to continue to be key drivers

 Athletic Apparel Good; Footwear Better - FW App App Table 3 23 11

 

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Athletic Apparel Good; Footwear Better - UA Apparel T3W 3 24 11

 

Athletic Apparel Good; Footwear Better - FW App Reg 3 23 11

Casey Flavin

Director