Washington, January 28, 2013 – The National Retail Federation released its 2013 economic forecast today, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 3.4 percent*, slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth seen in 2012. The subdued forecast comes on the heels of a holiday season that went head-to-head with Washington’s political wrangling over fiscal concerns, shifting consumers’ spending plans downward. In the end, holiday sales in 2012 grew 3.0 percent.
Having grown up and played tennis in the Pittsburg area, Kent Johnson was aware that there had never been much of a tennis retail presence. As a teaching pro, during lessons, people would ask him where there could buy tennis equipment locally. So Johnson decided to open Tennis Town, which occupies a 1,300-square-foot space in the Pittsburg suburbs.
Planning to grow your business and make money…can actually be fun! We are optimistic about the future of specialty tennis retailers in the U.S. This may seem odd considering we have pointed out in TIA Webinars the fact that retailing in America is in the midst of profound changes, and some industry observers are predicting that by 2020, half of all retail stores in the U.S. today will be gone.
In today’s highly competitive retail environment, with consumers controlling who stays in business and who doesn’t, it’s crucial that you have a firm understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your specialty tennis retail business.
The authors of Nine Shift–Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century warn in their “Second Decade Predictions for the 21st Century” that the “number of retail stores declines by 50% (half) by 2020.” We clearly see this already happening across many different retail segments; just look at the empty retail spaces you probably have in your own communities. (You can learn more about “Nine Shift” at www.nineshift.com.)
Solid consumer spending in the month of December helped retailers finish the year with a healthy holiday shopping season, however economic uncertainties sent a cautious consumer to the stores.
According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, December retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from November and increased 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Tennis dealers are optimistic about the year ahead amid a challenging and evolving marketplace, according to the "Dealer Trends Report," which was recently released by the TIA to its participating partner membership. Tennis dealers have also seen a spike in consumer interest of youth tennis equipment in the past year. This annual report serves as a barometer of dealer confidence in the industry as well as a "report card" for brands carried by the various tennis dealers across the country. The report also highlights key current issues, such as competition from online-only retailers, facing the tennis specialty retail market.
In an effort to provide tennis industry retailers with additional business enrichment services and opportunities, the TIA has developed a comprehensive line-up of webinars for 2013. These webinars, presented by Gluskin Townley Group, a retailer consulting partner of the TIA, cover a vast array of topic areas and providing tennis retailers with practical knowledge they can utilize in their business operations. Each of the tennis retail focused webinars will be 30 to 45 minutes in length and also include time following the presentation for a question and answer session with Gluskin Townley Group at the TIA's Retail Development Manager, Marty Mohar. To sign up for these upcoming webinars and view the finalized dates, visit TennisIndustry.org/Webinars.
The TIA will be hosting a FREE business enrichment webinar with a retail specific focus on January 15, 2013 from 2-3 PM EST, presented by the retail consulting firm Gluskin Townley Group. The focus of this webinar will be "Planning for the Future."
An annual business plan may seem like the last thing you want to spend time on when you come back to your retail store after celebrating the New Year…but the four or five days you dedicate to preparing the 2013 plan for your retail business are the most valuable you are going to spend working on your business all year!
TennisIndustry.org, the central information source for the tennis trade, has recently been redeveloped and relaunched by the Tennis Industry Association. The new website not only focuses on providing specified content for the various segments of the industry, but it also consolidates much of the information that previously resided on ancillary sites hosted by the TIA—making TennisIndustry.org a true "one-stop shop" for industry information.
According to the latest data from the TIA Specialty Store Tennis Racquet Retail Audit, specialty stores experienced a 4% decline in unit sales of tennis racquets in Q3 of 2012 over 2011 and a 5% decline in dollar sales. Despite the somewhat sluggish performance in the specialty market for the third quarter, year-to-date unit sales are up 3% and dollar sales are up 1%, driven by the strong double digit growth seen in Q1 and solid single digit growth experienced in Q2.