For the first six months of 2014, Intersport reports an overall sales improvement of 4 percent against the first half of the previous year. Running was up by 22 percent and team sports soared by 32 percent thanks to the football feast in Brazil.

With an increase of 4 percent, sales of outdoor gear were very much in line with the general situation. Hardgoods were up by 8 percent, while trekking boots remained at last year's level.

The real problem continues to be the category of hiking jackets, which was down by 11 percent. But Klaus Jost, president of Intersport Germany, pointed out that the category of rainwear was up by 6 percent.

The numbers from Sport 2000 for the same period are in line with those of the competing buying group. Altogether, the outdoor category at Sport 2000 was up by 3.2 percent compared with last year's first half. Apparel remained stable, while footwear rose by 6 percent and equipment by 8 percent.

Garments contribute about 55 percent of the entire outdoor turnover at the buying group. Sport 2000's managing director, Andreas Rudolf, said that jackets were down by 9 percent and sales of all other apparel advanced by 8 percent. Jackets, however, represent about 42 percent of all garment sales in the outdoor category. Rudolf analyzed the situation by stating that there is some market saturation and perhaps also a lack of innovation by the brands.

The specialty group of outdoor retailers within Sport 2000, Outdoor-Profis, sees another problem: the growing competition from outside the traditional outdoor industry. According to Outdoor-Profis' managing director, Olaf Wittayer, new competitors have been popping up on all fronts. More and more non-outdoor companies offer outdoor jackets as well. Wittayer mentioned only a few examples such as H&M, Engelbert Strauss, Brax and S.Oliver.

More generally speaking, the situation in specialty outdoor retailing was not as good as for the more general sporting goods retailers organized in Intersport or Sport 2000. In the first six months those shops suffered a sales decline by 4-6 percent, again mainly due to softer sales of apparel.