PORTLAND, Ore. -- Longitudes Group announced the release of its 2013 Market Trend Report on USA Off-Course Golf retail. For the first time in five years, the golf market experienced an increase in both doors and retail square footage. 2007 marked the peak before the economic downturn that brought many retail sectors devastating losses. Relative stability settled into the market in 2012, perhaps as the independent competitors relinquished control to the moneyed few. The specialty golf channel is now dominated by the national chains. 71% of all square footage and 30% of the door counts are owned by multi-door retailers with store footprints over 10,000 square feet.
First released in 2004, Longitudes Group annually tracks the growth and contraction of the Off-Course retail market. In the overall off-course retail segment, 2012 brought good news and growth both in terms of openings, square foot expansion and golfers with open wallets buying golf gear. Big Box chains were the lion's share of the growth with Golfsmith and PGA Tour Superstores aggressively opening gigantic stores in key markets.
Key findings of the current research include:
• Total square footage of off-course retail increased by 7.1% (551,000 square feet), while the number of total off-course stores increased by 2.3% or 21 locations. 2012 marked the first time in five years that both the number of doors and total square footage experienced growth.
• In 2012, there were 21 net openings, a far cry from the 142 net closures in 2011 and the 130 net closures in 2010. Nearly all of the store openings were exclusively driven by the national chains.
• Overall, out of 171 DMAs with at least one off-course golf retail store, 20% gained doors, while 13% lost doors and 67% remained the same.
• The 8.4M square feet of specialty golf retail floor space in the 2012 marketplace is still significantly below the 2007 peak for the channel when 1,574 stores serviced 9.3M square feet of golf equipment.
• Consolidation continued as Canadian retailer, Golf Town, acquired Golfsmith just after opening its first US stores in the Boston area in 2011.
The increase in rounds and spending in 2012 by golfers will hopefully stay on a positive trend in 2013. The fiercely competitive national retailers are preparing for a decade ahead of navigating a multi-channel marketplace that is quickly changing into a hyper-channel marketplace. Innovators will need to constantly hone their model. Online retail continues to grow at a double-digit pace. "The impact and adoption rate of golfers shopping via mobile retailing, pop-up stores, social media platforms and service providers dabbling in retail concepts, should motivate this traditional golf retail channel to be in a state of continual innovation," states Sara Killeen, President of Longitudes Group.
Calls to retailers were conducted via Longitudes Group outbound research and call centers, based in Portland, Oregon. These phone surveys established a baseline count of stores, store size and product categories carried. Retailers that had gone out of business, moved locations, or were incorrectly categorized as brick and mortar golf retailers were removed from the list or updated. Additional sources were utilized such as on-line yellow page list services, in-market personal interviews with industry participants, and company websites.
The report includes a complete analysis of 210 markets tracking last year's metro-by-metro changes both in the number of stores and the expansion/contraction of total retail square feet. The twenty-one (21) page report is affordably priced at $395 per copy. To order, email Linda Pierson at Linda@longitudesgroup.com. For further information on the preparation of a custom analysis please contact Sara Killeen at (503) 477-6284.
Longitudes Group, LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a research and marketing company providing unique analysis on the travel and spending behaviors of avid golfers in the US and Canada. Armed with a database containing information on the behavior of 5.6 million avid golfers mapped by county and zip code, Longitudes Group uses a geo-demographic approach to probe both the location and purchase behavior of the avid golfer population. On the supply side, Longitudes Group has built the most up-to-date database of golf retailers including 16,000 golf facilities, 951 off-course retail stores and 2,100 chain sporting goods stores. Canadian Market Analyses are also available. For more information, visit the company online at www.longitudesgroup.com.
Sara Killeen, President