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Home RETAIL CONTRACTION:

Less is hoping to mean more for some retail outlets going forward in golf. Longitudes Group, a research and marketing company providing unique analysis on the travel and spending behaviors of avid golfers in the US and Canada, has updated its read on the American Off-Course golf retail market. First released in 2004, Longitudes Group annually tracks the growth and contraction of this retail segment. What a difference a year can make as the research company found in its 2009 Market Trend Report.
Among some of its findings is the largest number of closures in the golf marketplace in 2009 since Longitudes Group began conducting this research six years ago. It said over 245 brick and mortar off-course golf stores closed in the last 12 months in the US, a net drop of over 17% in total doors and a reduction of 9.6% in total square footage. Perhaps the most alarming fact is the average age of the closures was 15 years old, including over 100 stores that had been opened for business 20 years or more. Since 2005, in fact, the off-course market has experienced a net loss of 577 doors, or a 31% loss, the research said. 2009 represents the largest single year of erosion in the Off- course channel. The report includes a complete analysis of 179 markets tracking last year’s metro-by-metro changes both in the number of stores and the expansion/contraction of total retail square feet. Meanwhile, the city of angels, Los Angeles, CA suffered the largest number of closings with 26 stores shuttering their doors.
“In our sixth year of tracking this golf distribution channel, we were disheartened to see the quality and number of independent retail closures,” stated Sara Killeen, President of Longitudes Group. “Many of the Mom & Pops that could not survive the economic downturn had been in business for 20+ years, but ultimately new opportunities will rise out of the ashes.”
Golf Galaxy, Golfsmith, and PGA Superstores account for 42% of the total market
square footage and 174 doors in the USA off-course retail market, the research found. And the ‘Big Box’ stores are gaining significant market share as the smaller, independent retailers were forced to close, Longtitude reported. These ‘Big Box’ stores continue to grow their influence with manufacturers and golfers alike, now representing 24% of all stores, but 60% of all retail space in the channel.
The research report is available for purchase and affordably priced at $395 per copy through Longitudes Group website, www.longitudesgroup.com/reports. Anyone wishing further information on the preparation of a custom analysis contact Sara Killeen at (402) 991-6620.