The independent U.S. retail organization Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA) has released sales data showing a significant increase in holiday season sales and a record-breaking two-year sales increase. Compared to 2020, Grassroots members – currently, a total of 99 independent retailers across 196 locations – in the U.S. saw a 29 percent increase since the start of the calendar year 2021. The growth builds on a solid upward trend in the second half of 2020 when Grassroots retailers nationwide posted a 10.8 percent increase.
Rich Hill, president of GOA, said Grassroots retailers would enter the new year confidently despite various headwinds in 2022, including ongoing pandemic challenges, supply chain impacts, employee retention, overlapping brand expansion plans, and widespread instability in the trade show model. Grassroots started the first quarter of 2021 strong, easily surpassing sales from the shutdown spring of 2020 and significantly outperforming the same period in 2019 (+34 percent). The group weathered a summer in which year-over-year growth slowed to +28 percent as supply chain issues hampered product delivery to retailers and Covid-19 and variant issues continued. However, the healthy trend continued into the end of the year, as retailers reported a 19.1 percent increase in holiday sales for October-November, leading to an increase in total sales between August and December (+18.1 percent vs. 2020, +27.8 percent vs. 2019), as well as increases in November (+36.2 percent vs. 2020, +32.8 percent vs. 2019) and December (+15 percent vs. 2020, +28.6 percent vs. 2019).
Grassroots accomplishments in 2021 include the successful hosting of the first Grassroots Connect buyer’s show in more than 700 days in November, the launch of the group’s proprietary specialty retail data tool in June and the recent launch of Indie Outdoor (www.indieoutdoor.com), a national initiative to strengthen independent outdoor specialty retailers across the country through data and marketing support. Another highlight of 2021 was the addition of 14 new retail members.