Independent outdoor specialty retailers see robust recovery rebound with 101% year-to-year sales increase in March

April 14, 2021

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retailers are enjoying an exceptional year-to-year sales rebound that has both met and surpassed “business as usual,” with a startling 101% gain in March 2021.

APRIL 14, 2021 — Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the collaborative strategic network of independent outdoor specialty retailers, reported robust year-to-year retail sales gains in their March membership update last week.

Based on Grassroots member sales reports, independent outdoor specialty retailers are enjoying an exceptional year-to-year sales rebound that has both met and surpassed “business as usual,” with a startling 101% gain in March 2021. The group is up 8% on a rolling 12 month basis, with Q1 2021 reported figures showing a 34% increase over Q1 2020.

“The data is totally accurate, but should still be viewed with cautious optimism. Coming from the depths of the shutdown to robust outdoor demand paired with widespread supply chain issues, we’re clearly headed into a pretty crazy data phase in the outdoor sector,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

During the depth of the spring 2020 shutdown, Grassroots member retailers were severely impacted due to regional pandemic restrictions which forced partial and full closures from mid-March through early June. Close to 20% of surveyed Grassroots retailers reported closing their doors to the public by March 16, 2020, while 95% had closed by the end of that month. As expected, the resulting sales impacts for the group in 2020 included decreases of -33% in March, -58% in April, and -9% in May.

To date in 2021, year-to-year sales change numbers tell a vastly different story, with sizable boosts in January (+20%), February (+14%), and March (+101%).  Looking beyond last spring’s anemic sales number, Grassroots retailers were up 25% in a two-year comparison between reporting retailers in 2019 and 2021.

“It’s going to be hard to resist click-baity titles like the one on this press release as we move forward through 2021, but it’s essential to go deeper than just the headlines and question all published performance metrics,” added Hill.

Additionally, average group sales margins for March 2021 are up close to 4 points over 2020, a strong indication that current sales strength is based on full price sales for new spring product, rather than discounted fall/winter holdovers.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE:  Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is a collaborative strategic network of 95 independent retailers with 195 retail locations in 45 states, working together for the health and growth of specialty independent outdoor retail. Through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events and deep vendor partnerships, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retail. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Grassroots Connect is an ideally timed, invitation-only buying show for the specialty outdoor industry hosted by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. The next Grassroots Connect will be held Nov. 8-11, 2021 (Kansas City, Mo.).