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In spite of a 16% surge in shooting sports equipment, retail sales of sporting goods (footwear, clothing and equipment), which reached a record $53.5 billion in 2007, fell 1% in 2008 to $53.4 billion, according to the just released National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) report “The Sporting Goods Market in 2009.”

For 2009, sporting goods sales are forecast to slip another 1% to $52.3 billion, according to SportsOneSource Media.

“In spite of the decline, 2008 sales were the second highest in the 30 years the association has been doing the market study,” said Thomas B. Doyle, NSGA vice president of information and research.

Sales of recreational transport equipment (bicycles, pleasure boats and motors, recreational vehicles and snowmobiles) declined to $27.0 billion in 2008 (-29%). Sales of recreational transport products in 2009 are forecast to decline another 27%.

Athletic and sports equipment, which accounted for $24.88 billion in sales, showed a 0.7% decline. The association is forecasting a 1% decline in equipment sales for 2009.

In 2008, athletic and sport footwear slipped to $17.19 billion, a 1.9% decrease. The association is forecasting flat footwear sales for 2009.

Athletic and sport clothing showed a 2.5% decrease, to $10.56 billion. The association is forecasting a 1% decline in clothing sales for 2009.

Among equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion in 2008, hunting and firearms showed the greatest percentage increase. Sales of hunting and firearms equipment rose 16% to $4.6 billion from $3.9 billion in 2007. Only paintball guns/packages declined in this category.

Exercise equipment remained the largest individual equipment category surveyed by NSGA. Sales of exercise equipment decreased 3.5% to $5.3 billion. Motorized treadmills, which dominate this category with $3 billion in sales, showed a 1% decrease.

Among other equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion, only camping showed an increase. Camping equipment sales grew 1%, from $1.45 billion in 2007 to $1.46 billion in 2008.

In other $1 billion-plus sales categories, golf equipment fell 5% to $3.55 billion. Fishing tackle fell 6.3% to $2.1 billion and sports optics were flat at $1.02 billion.

Fifteen of the 24 equipment categories surveyed by the association last year showed declines. Two were flat and the balance (except for hunting and firearms) showed modest (1% to 4%) increases.

“The Sporting Goods Market in 2009” is a copyrighted NSGA consumer study that projects 2008 purchases of sporting goods products based on a survey of 80,000 U.S. households. National Family Opinion, Inc. (NFO) maintains the consumer panel used in the survey, which is balanced to parallel actual American household distribution as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Census, so that the data can be projected nationally.

The report comes in both printed and electronic formats.

“The Sporting Goods Market in 2009” is available for $295 for retailer/dealer members of the Association and free to manufacturer and sustaining members. For non-members, the cost is $340. For additional information, contact Dan Kasen, NSGA, 1601 Feehanville Drive, Suite 300, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-6035. Phone: (847) 296-6742, E-mail: [email protected], or fax: (847) 391-9827.