Our weekly sports apparel data showed meaningful sequential and year over year changes. In the absence of consistent quantitative and anecdotal evidence that true underlying demand has improved, we believe the calendar impact of a ramping back to school selling season is underway. With that said, the trends on both a sequential and year over year basis are encouraging. Additionally, the consistency in the sporting goods channel over the past three weeks suggests that volatility is in check. With more moderate weekly ups and downs, inventory planning and promotional cadence should be easier to manage and inventory risk should be muted.
The overall industry reported a positive week (albeit just north of flat), with trends increasing in most channels of distribution. On the downside, while still positive, the sporting goods retailers decelerated. On an absolute growth basis, full-line sporting goods reported a positive week, offset by weakness in the athletic/urban specialty stores. Regionally, we saw strength on the West coast for the second week in a row with sales up 28%. The eastern seaboard was quite the opposite, with double digits declines for the week. Average price point changes were mixed across channels as discount/mass retailers showed the biggest sequential decline in ASPs, while the sporting goods and family channels were relatively stable. This data confirms that the promotional environment remains rational- at least for now in the very early stages of the back to school season.