Total February Equipment sales in dollars slumped slightly (-3%) vs. same month year ago. While the Green Grass business rode the wave of exceptional weather across much of the US and continues to be strong (+14%), the Off Course Specialty category struggled to shake off the hangover of the closure of roughly 70 Golfsmith stores and fell by 8%.
Green Grass sales were up double digits for the second consecutive month, and thru February they’re up over 13%. Generally speaking, the closure of Golfsmith stores is likely to be beneficial to the Green Grass channel in the short run. In many locales Golfsmith stores provided quality opportunities to see/try new products, and without the availability of those locations, golfers will be looking for other places to try/buy. There is no doubt some of these sales will move to the local Pro Shop and should prove to be beneficial to the On Course.
The Off Course channel fell significantly in February, as the reduction in available locations was not enough to offset the substantial increase in Average Selling Prices for most products in the golf club business. Total Off Course Specialty sales were off over 8% for the month, and are down more than 2% year to date. Balls and gloves are the two product categories that declined the most in percentage terms, down 8% and 10% respectively.
In total, Wedges (+9%), Balls (+6%) and Woods (+5%) are the primary positive drivers in February YTD equipment sales, with Footwear (-3%), Putters (-3%) and Irons (-2%) down the furthest.
While it’s never a bad thing to have sales grow vs. YAG, the large increase from January has been mitigated, and 2017 sales still remain below the long term trend line.
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