PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – During the summer, people trying to get out of the house grabbed boats, bikes, and patio furniture thinking they would be safer to socialize and be active outside than inside. Now that temperatures are dropping, they are buying snowshoes, skis, boots and winter coats, which is fueling the beleaguered retail sector.
“People want the fresh air outside,” said Jay Rock from the Arlberg ski and surf shop in Portland. “I feel like people aren’t too worried about spending money.”
When shoppers aren’t looking for ways to stay active, many want to stay comfortable, which means sales of items like slippers and warm pajamas have also skyrocketed.
Hot sellers tend to fall into different categories – products that promote healthy lifestyles, work and study from home, and entertain from home – said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at NPD Group.
“The cozy comfort business continues to flourish because we now wear slippers every day,” he added since the pandemic.
In outdoor equipment, cross-country equipment increased 202% and snowshoes increased 221% from August to October. This is the latest data available, and it’s still going strong, according to Snowsports Industries America.
In the comfort segment, slippers are up 70% and the sleep category is ahead of last year when pajamas were sold for nearly $ 8.5 billion, the NPD Group said.
In fact, sleepwear is almost the only area of the apparel sector that has seen growth this year, Cohen said. An NPD survey on behavior at home found that about half of Americans said they wear active and loungewear and pajamas all day because more people work from home.
The trend is a continuation of what began in spring and summer.
People are canceling their trip and staying home because of the pandemic, but they are also trying to get outside so as not to go crazy. That made barbecues, garden furniture, outdoor heaters, trampolines, canoes and camping equipment hot goods.
All in all, it is going to be a decent Christmas season for retailers despite millions struggling with lost wages during the pandemic. The National Retail Federation expects Christmas sales, including booming online home shopping, to increase between 3.6% and 5.2% compared to last season.
At LL Bean, off-chart sales of bicycles, kayaks and patio furniture, as well as skis and snowshoes, are expected to help save an even more difficult year with a sharp drop in clothing and other items.
The Maine-based retailer reports that snowshoe sales have increased 358% and sales of sleds and skis have more than doubled, spokeswoman Amanda Hannah said. Comfortable slippers are up 95% and sweatpants are up 180%, Hannah said.
“Americans are looking more than ever for outdoor connections and indoor comfort this year with unprecedented stress,” she said.
Kara Douglas, a buyer from Harpswell, brought cross-country skiing boots, snow pants and other outdoor equipment for her family.
She said it was important for everyone, especially her 11 and 14-year-old daughters, to go outside.
“They spend a lot of time doing school remotely. You spend way too much time on screens. For my kids, I just feel like we have to be really, really hardworking to keep them out and keep them active, ”she said.
Some retailers have trouble keeping items in stock.
At Rodgers Ski & Sport in Scarborough, shoppers who want to go outside are snapping up alpine skis and have bought so many cross-country skis that supplies are low, said Bryan Gallant, deputy general manager. Customers want snowshoes, but they are sold out.
“People are equipping their whole family and not thinking twice about it,” he said. “People don’t shy away from the price of the product. If they want something, they will go outside no matter what. “