Words: Cary Allington

January started off the year with a continuation of the core shop sales growth we saw last year from ActionWatch’s same-store retail panel. Sales climbed 5.4% compared to January 2011. The only major category struggling was accessories, with a decline just over 3% due to poor sales of female-specific accessories.

The standout category was yet again footwear, with female-specific footwear continuing its rocketing journey up into the land of relevancy. Women's apparel also experienced a good gain in January and slightly eclipsed the sales growth of men's apparel. Fleece lost its hot streak in both genders but most apparel classes saw growth in January. Skate hardgoods were essentially flat in January while surf hardgood sales were up in the low teens. All other hardgood categories were also up except for protective gear.

In general, it was a good start to the new year and ActionWatch hopes to continue reporting positive growth trends for the rest of 2012.

ActionWatch January 2012

ActionWatchThe ActionWatch Retail Panel includes 250 surf/skate independent specialty shops across the U.S. and is growing rapidly as more retailers join the free program. Retailers who participate get free access to a set of 50 reports updated each month. Retailers interested in joining the ActionWatch Retail Panel can get more information at www.ActionWatch.com.

All ActionWatch reports are made from the aggregated data of the participating retailers, which are located throughout the U.S. and vary in size from 750-square-foot shops to stores over 10,000 square feet. Data is collected monthly from electronic reports submitted by participating retailers.