The latest weekly sports apparel data highlights a marked deceleration in the industry across all channels, with the exception of Family Retail (Meyer, JC Penny, Sears, Stage Stores). The largest sequential delta in the data comes from the sporting goods channel, which posted a decline of 1.5% for the week vs. a 4.5% gain in the week prior. Underlying this trend was a large 18.5% decline in the New England region, followed by a 8.7% drop in the Mid-Atlantic. Additionally, when looking at the distribution channels, there was a positive result of 2% for the full line stores offset by large declines in urban/athletic and internet/catalog. Average selling prices remained positive for the week as has been the trend for the month so far. While one week does not make a trend, it is worth nothing that we are now beginning to compare against the beginning of back-to-school 2008. With most, if not all, retailers citing a later back to school selling season this year vs. last, we would not be surprised to see near-term weakness until the current back to school period picks up later in August.
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