After 7 consecutive months of declines vs. same month year ago, the golf equipment market (drivers, fairways, hybrids, wedges, putters, balls, gloves, bags and shoes) eked out a slight gain (1%) in October of 2016. All categories except woods were up for the month, but the combination of the size of the wood business and significant declines in driver and fairway unit sales dampened the gains in other product categories.
The only equipment category expanding compared to last year is wedges, which are up mid single digits in value.
Green Grass equipment sales were up over 5% for October, with iron sales driving the overall channel, led by new product that focuses on custom fitting/On Course strategies.
The Off Course channel remains volatile as the Golfsmith situation unwinds and a large chunk of stores close. The impact of inventory liquidation from the closed stores will certainly be felt across the market place over the rest of the year.
Looking toward 2017 there is cautious optimism that the retail environment will improve, and new product technologies from the leading manufacturers will help stimulate sales.
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