ActionWatch Oz: After two consecutive months of positive YoY sales performance the ActionWatch panel experienced a -19% YoY decline in April 2018 compared to the same month last year. This pushes YTD 2018 (Jan-April) into negative territory with a -9.3% YoY decline compared to Jan-April of 2017. While the double-digit decline for April is undoubtedly disappointing, it is possible that April 2018 may represent only a dip in a longer term upward trend, caused by the comparison against a strong April 2017.
For April all of the broad categories except for Hardgoods (+4.3%)experienced double-digit declines, including Apparel, which was down –27% overall (-26.6% for women, –27.2% for men), Accessories (-13.5%), while Footwear declined –19.4% (-19.6% for women, –22% for men). Wetsuits showed a decline –11.9% (+25.6% for women, -20.9% for men).
Despite the broad declines there are still a few bright spots in terms of specific individual categories that experienced growth. On the women’s side we once again saw growth for Skirts (+7%), and Boardshorts (+3.9%) and Swimwear (9%) In Women’s Accessories we only saw growth in Sunglasses (+37.1%), Tote Bags (+5.4%), while Rash Guards (+127.8%) and Standard Wetsuits (+25.6%) where the standout category in Women’s.
In the men’s categories we found fewer segments to highlight. For Tops we can point to Other Shirts (+16.5), Boardshorts (+8%) were the only growth category’s. In men’s Accessories the only bright spot a was the smaller Other Bag category (+38.8%), and Shoulder Bags (142.4%) Wetsuits showed overall decline but were highlighted by while Rash Guards (+3.2%) Spring suits (+54%) and S/S Wetsuits (+94) and Wetsuit Jackets (49.5) led the way in the Wetsuit category. None of the men’sFootwear categories grew.
In April we saw YoY modest sales growth in less than a handful of the core surf and skate hardgoods categories, Surf Hardgoods (+4.4%), led bySoftboards (+38.9%), and Surfboard Bags (+25.9%). Skate Hardgoods (+2.2%) while Bodyboard Hardgoods (+14.1%)
We should exercise caution in interpreting the April 2018 results and not ring the alarm bells prematurely, especially since the strong April 2017 (Avg $ Sales; $100,452) we’re comparing the April 2018 (Avg $ Sales; $87,160) results to was possibly due to a calendar anomaly. However, the weak April results for both genders and across the large majority of the categories are valid reasons for concern. May and June will tell us whether April is just a dip that temporarily slowed the continued upward trend or whether Q1 2018 was just a temporary uptick that interrupted the further decline of the core channel.
On a side note, we also saw declines in the US Panel after two consecutive months of positive YoY sales performance the ActionWatch panel experienced a -13% YoY decline in April 2018 compared to the same month last year.