Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of independent specialty retail, released sales data showing a significant uptick in holiday season sales as well as a record setting two years of sales increases.
In comparison to 2020, Grassroots member retailers were up 29 percent year-to-date, including an increase of 18 percent for the fall season (August-December), 22 percent sales growth for Q4 (October-December), and a 15 percent bump for December alone. The growth builds on top of a strong upward trend in the second half of 2020, in which Grassroots retailers nationwide were up 10.8 percent.
“It’s hard to describe anything out there as ‘business as usual’ right now, but the ‘new normal’ has certainly shown that consumers value the indie experience and smiled on independent specialty outdoor retailers,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.
Hill added that despite a range of 2022 headwinds ahead – including ongoing pandemic challenges, supply chain impacts, employee retention, overlapping brand expansion plans, and widespread trade show model instability – the Grassroots retailer community is confident about 2022.
“For both Grassroots retailers and vendors, the only constant in the last 12 months has been the revolving door of business challenges. Every week has been a new adventure, but fortunately this is a remarkably resourceful community that clearly thrives when things get tough.”
Grassroots started strong in 2021 Q1, dwarfing sales from the shutdown spring of 2020, and well surpassing the same period in 2019 (34 percent). The group pushed through a summer where year-to-year growth lowered to 28 percent due to supply chain issues blocking the ability of product to get to retail as well as ongoing virus/variant concerns.
But end of year sales resumed their healthy trend as retailers saw holiday traffic increasing 19.1 percent for October-November, supporting an increase in overall August-December sales (18.1 percent over 2020, 27.8 percent over 2019), as well as boosts in November (36.2 percent over 2020, 32.8 percent over 2019) and December (15 percent over 2020, 28.6 percent over 2019).
“Grassroots vendor partners really came through for specialty outdoor retail in 2021. They kept lines of communication open, and they worked with our retailers to find real solutions,” Hill said.
“More than anybody in the outdoor sector, specialty retailers understand the importance of community, and Grassroots will continue to deliver opportunities for indie retailers to connect, learn from each other, and remain the best place for outdoor enthusiasts to shop,” Hill added.